3 Of The Best Plot Lines To Grace British Period Dramas

Period dramas, in particular British ones, have captured the hearts of millions for decades.

They are an integral part of the film industry, offering audiences a glimpse into historical eras and societies, often in a romanticised or idealised light. From sweeping epics to intimate character studies, the genre has produced some of the most iconic and beloved stories in entertainment history. At the heart of these dramas, are the plots that we have all found ourselves thoroughly invested in, at least one time or another.

In particular, some plotlines have stood out for their compelling twists, or even their revelations about our past and history. Immersing us in the politics, culture, and societal norms of a time long past, whether that’s exploring the intrigue and drama of royal courts or the struggles of ordinary people trying to survive in a world of rigid class structures, the best period dramas offer a window into a different world while still capturing universal themes and emotions.


1. Downton Abbey

A worldwide phenomenon with 6 consuming seasons, Downton Abbey took people by storm with its character centred drama. Set in the early 20th century, the show followed the aristocratic Crawley family along with their household staff as they navigated the sociopolitical changes of the era. One of the show’s most dramatic and memorable moments came with one of the central characters, Matthew Crawley’s unexpected death.

Matthew, played by actor Dan Stevens, was a crucial part on the show and definitely a fan favourite. His romance with Lady Mary Crawley, played by Michelle Dockery, was a major storyline that captured the hearts of viewers. However, in a shocking turn of events, Matthew was killed off in a car accident in the final moments of the third season, right after his first child was born. The plot twist left fans reeling and sparked intense debates over the show’s direction and the decision to kill off such a beloved character.

Despite the controversy, the show continued for two more seasons and remains a beloved classic of the period drama genre.


2. Call the Midwife

Call the Midwife is one of the most popular British period dramas out there. The ongoing show tells the story of a group of midwives working in London’s East End in the 1950s and 60s. Known for its heartwarming moments and its depiction of the challenges faced by midwives and their patients during that time period, the show and its characters have found its way to a special place in many fans’ hearts.

Nurse Barbara, played by actress Charlotte Ritchie, was a main character on the show for three seasons. She was known for her kindness and compassion towards her patients, as well as her warm and loving relationship with her husband, Reverend Tom Hereward. However, in a devastating plot twist that left fans crushed, Barbara was diagnosed with meningitis and died in the eighth episode of season seven.

The plot point was a shock to the show’s avid audience, who had grown to love Barbara and her story arc over the previous seasons. Many fans praised the show for its realistic and poignant depiction of loss, while others were heartbroken by the loss of such a beloved character. Despite the sadness of her death, Nurse Barbara’s impact on the show and the characters around her continued to be felt in the seasons that followed.


3. Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders is a fantasy period crime drama television series that has amassed millions of fans all over the world, set in the gritty aftermath of World War I in Birmingham, England. The series follows the Shelby crime family, Tommy Shelby at its head, and their efforts to expand their criminal empire while dealing with various enemies and adversaries. Starting from a smaller betting and gambling operation, not the poker or slots you might imagine, but gambling on horse races, growing into a widespread gangster organisation.

The thrilling art of gambling and betting has evolved over centuries, but the modern era of casino games began in the early 20th century, with the establishment of the first legal casino in Nevada, USA. Today, it has bloomed into a multi-billion dollar industry, with casinos and other gambling establishments located in countries all around the world. With the rise of the internet, however, online gambling soared in popularity. Nowadays, online casinos offer a wide range of entertainment services like enticing online slots and classic table games. They also feature sizeable bonuses, as compared to physical casinos – for example, some offer the option to withdraw your winnings in bitcoin!

With that said, the show features an excellent cast, including Cillian Murphy as the lead character, and is renowned for its stylish cinematography, brutally realistic acting, and engrossing storyline. One of the show’s most significant plot twists occurred in the third season when Grace, Thomas’s love interest turned wife, was unexpectedly killed, stunning audiences and adding a new layer of complexity to the show’s central narrative.

Grace’s death was a pivotal moment in Peaky Blinders, as it not only added further emotional depth to the series, but it also significantly impacted Tommy’s character arc. After her death, Thomas became more ruthless, more reckless, determined to avenge her death and protect his family.

The twist demonstrated the show’s willingness to take risks and subvert audience expectations, making it one of the most talked-about moments in recent television history. Peaky blinders continued for another 3 seasons, before coming to a climatic end in 2022.