23 brand new British period drama TV series to watch in 2023

2023 looks set to be another thrilling year for British period drama fans.

Here, in alphabetical order, we’ve listed all the new British historical and period drama mini-series coming to our screens over the coming year!

You can read our epic previews of 2023’s new British period drama movies and returning British period drama TV series too.

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What’s it about?

Archie tells the story of Hollywood’s greatest leading man, Cary Grant, who starred in classic movies like NotoriousNorth By Northwest, and To Catch a Thief.

BritBox and ITV’s four-part mini-series comes from writer Jeff Pope (Mrs BiggsPhilomena, Stan & Ollie) and stars Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter) as Archie Leach, aka Cary Grant.

What did the reviews say?

“Jason Isaacs is great as Cary Grant, but this four-part biopic is lacking in both depth and nuance.” ★★ – iNews

“This charmingly cheesy four-part bio-drama profiles five phases of the Hollywood star’s life courtesy of stunning performances – which plunge into the actor’s dark depths.” ★★★★ – The Guardian

Cary Grant: The Collection is available on DVD on Amazon.


The Artful Dodger

What’s it about?

Set in Australia in the 1850s, The Artful Dodger explores the adult double life of Charles Dickens’ iconic character from Oliver Twist, now a surgeon who can’t shake his predilection for crime.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Love Actually) leads the Disney+ series’ cast, alongside Harry Potter star David Thewlis as Fagin.

What did the reviews say?

The Artful Dodger is a must-watch for anyone who loves Dickens, historical dramas, and has a stomach for the woefully horrific surgical practices of yesteryear.” – Collider

The Artful Dodger doesn’t run out of puff, fully committing to a twisty storyline told with panache. Even when the plotting is a little familiar, the packaging feels fresh: it’s the show’s wild energy that keeps it zipping along.” ★★★★ – The Guardian

Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist is available on Amazon.



What’s it about?

A crime procedural with a twist, Bodies is based on Si Spencer’s mind-bending 2015 graphic novel.

Netflix’s eight-part drama stars Kyle Soller from Poldark and follows four detectives in four different eras of London as they find themselves investigating the murder of the same victim, uncovering a conspiracy spanning 150 years.

What did the reviews say?

“Part mystery, part police procedural, part character drama, part dystopia (plus more parts we won’t spoil here), it’s a much-needed breath of fresh air.” ★★★★ – Radio Times

“Ambitious, tense, explosive: this genre-blurring whodunnit travels time to visit four detectives investigating the same murder – in different eras. It’s exceptionally good value.” ★★★★ – The Guardian


The Buccaneers

What’s it about?

Based on Edith Wharton’s unfinished final novel, this new Apple+ mini-series sees a group of fun-loving young American girls explode into the tightly corseted London season of the 1870s, kicking off an Anglo-American culture clash.

What did the reviews say?

“It’s been so expertly made that you have little choice but to just surrender to it. Resistance is futile. It looks absolutely beautiful.” ★★★★ – BBC

“If Bridgerton and The Gilded Age melded together, their grittier, splashier baby would be The Buccaneers.” – Variety

Edith Wharton’s novel is available on Amazon.


Changing Ends

What’s it about?

Changing Ends is based on the English comedian Alan Carr’s childhood in Northampton in the 1980s.

Told “with warmth and wit,” ITV’s six-part nostalgic comedy series from the makers of Gavin & Stacey stars Belfast actor Oliver Savell as the young Alan.

What did the reviews say?

“A laugh-out-loud autobiographical comedy with a lot of heart … The ’80s-set series is a delightful exploration of Alan Carr’s teenage years that’s both moving and hilarious.” ★★★★ – Radio Times

“Alan Carr’s new autobiographical sitcom, Changing Ends, is that most joyous of things: a smart, inventive, honest and charming coming-of-age story. It’s also, in the case of Carr, the making of a national treasure.” ★★★★★ – The Independent


The Doll Factory

What’s it about?

Based on Elizabeth Macneal’s historical fiction novel, the six-part series comes from the makers of Marcella and the producer of Magpie Murders.

Set in London, 1850, The Doll Factory tells the story of Iris, who paints dolls for a living alongside her twin sister, Rose.

What did the reviews say?

“Small-screen adaptation of a Victorian-set best-seller is enjoyable but fails to quite know where to pitch itself.” ★★★ – The List

“This twisty period drama is sumptuously atmospheric … Paramount’s adaptation of a best-selling novel is full of great performances and slow-burning tension. It’s a solid slab of Victoriana that keeps you guessing.” ★★★ – The Guardian

Elizabeth Macneal’s novel The Doll Factory is available on Amazon.


The Famous Five

What’s it about?

Based on the classic children’s adventure novels by Enid Blyton, the BBC’s new family drama launches with a feature-length special.

The new Famous Five series follows Julian, Dick, Anne, and George – plus their dog Timmy – as the five daring young explorers encounter treacherous, action-packed adventures, and remarkable mysteries.

What did the reviews say?

“Enid Blyton famously said that she didn’t care about the critical opinion of anyone over the age of 12: and what child wouldn’t be enchanted by this crazy adventure? ” ★★★★ – iNews

“It’s a Christmas treat for the whole family, a really enchanting family film, with very high production values, and top class writing and direction.” – Clothes in Books

The complete collection of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books is available on Amazon.


Funny Woman – Season 1

What’s it about?

Based on About a Boy author Nick Hornby’s 2016 novel of the same name, this comedy drama series stars Gemma Arterton (Their Finest) as a young woman from Blackpool finding her comic voice in the male dominated world of the 1960s sitcom.

The cast of Funny Woman also includes Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding), David Threlfall (Shameless), and Tom Bateman (Murder on the Orient Express).

What did the reviews say?

“Gemma Arterton stars in a paean to a certain era of innocent, slapstick comedy … This show feels like a warm hug, and Arterton plays Nick Hornby’s heroine with a breezy ease and natural wit.” ★★★ – The Independent

“Gemma Arterton is absolutely captivating in this Nick Hornby adaptation … The actor exudes star power in this take on the popular novel. It blossoms into a colourful romp through the swinging 60s that is very much TV as comfort food.” ★★★ – The Guardian

Nick Hornby’s novel Funny Girl is available on Amazon.


The Gallows Pole

What’s it about?

Acclaimed filmmaker Shane Meadows (This is England) directs his first ever period drama with this adaptation of Benjamin Myers’ novel The Gallows Pole for the BBC.

Starring Michael Socha (This Is England), Tom Burke (The Muskeeers), George MacKay (1917), and Sophie McShera (Downton Abbey), the six-part TV series tells the remarkable true story of the rise and fall of the Cragg Vale Coiners in the 1760s.

What did the reviews say?

“The roughcast look, feel, performances … wit and earthy intelligence combine to make this a drama of rare quality in every sense. It is funny, moving, enraging, shocking by turns and always compelling. Not to be missed.” ★★★★★ – The Guardian

“With a script that’s frank, daft and laugh-out-loud funny … this is less of a committed retelling of the gripping tale and more of a three-hour galavant through Meadow’s zany imagination.” ★★★★ – Evening Standard

Benjamin Myers’ novel The Gallows Pole is available on Amazon.


The Gold

What’s it about?

Inspired by the true story of the Brink’s-Mat robbery, this ’80s-set heist series from BBC One and Paramount+ dramatises the ‘crime of the century’ and the decades-long chain of events that followed.

The Gold stars Hugh Bonneville and Tom Cullen from Downton Abbey, alongside Charlotte Spencer (Sanditon), Jack Lowden (War and Peace), Dominic Cooper (Mamma Mia!), and Emun Elliott (The Paradise).

What did the reviews say?

The Gold is a real audience-pleaser, a classic, classy British crime drama with a big and brilliant cast.” ★★★★ – Evening Standard

“BBC One’s The Gold is outstandingly enjoyable TV.” – The New Statesman


Great Expectations

What’s is about?

From Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, with producers Ridley Scott (Gladiator) and Tom Hardy (Taboo), this new six-part drama brings to life Charles Dickens’ thirteenth novel for the BBC and FX.

The cast of Great Expectations includes Olivia Colman (The Crown) and Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk), alongside Ashley Thomas (The Ipcress File), Johnny Harris (Medici), and Shalom Brune-Franklin (The Tourist).d

What did the reviews say?

“FX’s sinister Great Expectations adaptation makes Charles Dickens feel new again … Steven Knight’s dark and haunting approach serves the oft-interpreted story well.” – Prime Timer

Great Expectations has an electric Olivia Colman, but not enough else … In all, Dickens devotees will find things to admire in this series, but it may prove tough going for general viewers.” – Variety


The Long Shadow

What’s it about?

From the makers of Des and White House Farm, ITV’s seven-part true crime drama depicts one of the most notorious and shocking serial killer cases in the world.

The Long Shadow follows the hunt for Peter Sutcliffe between October 1975 and January 1981, as police undertake the biggest manhunt in British criminal history.

What did the reviews say?

“A shattering serial killer drama that breaks all the rules … a mighty cast including Katherine Kelly and Toby Jones tells the stories of the women murdered by Peter Sutcliffe. Finally, the focus is on the victims.” ★★★★ – The Guardian

“Hard-hitting series walks a dramatic tightrope … the ITV series may not be particularly subtle, but it’s a gripping drama with a respectful approach.” ★★★★ – Radio Times


Murder is Easy

What’s it about?

Penelope Wilton from Downton Abbey stars in this two-part BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie‘s 1939 novel of the same name.

Set in 1954, Murder is Easy sees a killer is on the loose in a sleepy English village.

What did the reviews say?

“The show does have one great revelation in the form of Jonsson, who gives Fitzwilliam quiet authority and abundant charm.” – Financial Times

“This may be a new take but it’s still Agatha Christie through and through.” ★★★★ – iNews

Agatha Christie’s novel Murder is Easy is available on Amazon.



What’s it about?

Russell T Davies, the acclaimed writer of It’s a Sin and A Very English Scandal, returns with this ’80s-set ITV mini-series about Crossroads legend Noele Gordon.

Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown) stars as the titular ‘Nolly’ in this three-part “sharp, affectionate and heart-breaking portrait of a forgotten icon.”

What did the reviews say?

“Fabulous, glamorous, joyous fun that makes Noele Gordon a star once more … Helena Bonham Carter and Russell T Davies combine to turn the Crossroads star’s downfall into a rollicking good time and a fitting tribute.” ★★★★★ – The Telegraph

“Helena Bonham Carter is on sensational form in this overly sentimental love letter to a soap queen.” ★★★ – The Independent


Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story

What’s it about?

This limited series is a prequel to Netflix’s hit period drama Bridgerton, which also returns for a third season in 2023.

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story tells the story of how the young Queen’s marriage to King George sparked both a great love story and a societal shift, creating the world of the Ton inherited by the characters in Bridgerton.

What did the reviews say?

“A ravishing, romp-packed prequel … The series is a rare exception to the rule of prequels (generally substantially worse than the originals and undermining all previous endeavours) and will hopefully set many of its younger stars on the road to success.” ★★★★ – The Guardian

Queen Charlotte is the best Bridgerton yet.” – Variety


The Reckoning

What’s it about?

From the award winning team behind acclaimed Shannon Matthews drama The Moorside and Fred West drama Appropriate Adult, this mini-series traces the life of Jimmy Savile, a man who rose from working-class origins to become one of the biggest stars of British television, but in death has become one of the most reviled figures of modern history following revelations of extensive and horrific abuse.

Steve Coogan, best known for his dramatic roles in Philomena and Stan & Ollie, leads the cast of The Reckoning as Jimmy Savile.

What did the reviews say?

“Coogan captures the charm and creepy depravity of the notorious abuser. But this is a horrific tale most of us already know – and the depressing drama adds little of value.” ★★★ – The Guardian

“A tough watch, of course, made with obvious conscientiousness, centred around a deeply disturbing central performance from Steve Coogan. Whether this is the appropriate form of reckoning for such inconceivable crimes, however, should be up for debate.” ★★★ – Empire


Steeltown Murders

What’s it about?

From the makers of The Pembrokeshire Murders, this true crime drama starring Philip Glenister (Life On Mars) is set in both the 1970s and early 2000s.

Steeltown Murders focuses on the hunt to catch the killer of three young women in the Port Talbot area, and the remarkable story of how – in the first case of its kind – the mystery was solved almost thirty years later using pioneering DNA evidence.

What did the reviews say?

” Philip Glenister shines as a copper hell-bent on finding the truth.” ★★★★ – Evening Standard

“It takes its time but never flags or becomes ponderous (thanks to Marc Evans’ directorial talents, as well as the dense script), and it takes its responsibilities to the living and to the dead seriously.” ★★★★ – The Guardian



What’s is about?

Married Spooks star Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes are reuniting in a new three-part drama for ITV and BritBox from the writer of  A Very English Scandal.

Stonehouse tells the story of how disgraced Labour minister John Stonehouse disappeared from the beach of a luxury hotel in Florida in November 1974, leaving behind only a neatly folded stack of clothes as he swam off into the sea, intending to fake his own death.

What did the reviews say?

“Matthew Macfadyen is brilliantly ridiculous in this comic masterclass … ITV’s new political drama refuses to take its story too seriously.” ★★★★ – The Telegraph

“Keeley Hawes is the comedic foil to Macfadyen’s loveable rogue in this surprisingly funny ITV series…” – Den of Geek


Ten Pound Poms

What’s it about?

Shameless writer Danny Brocklehurst’s new six-part drama follows a group of Brits as they leave dreary post-war Britain in 1956 to embark on a life-altering adventure on the other side of the world.

Ten Pound Poms is led by Our Girl star Michelle Keegan, alongside Faye Marsay (Game of Thrones) and Warren Brown (Luther).

What did the reviews say?

“It’s a solidly enjoyable Sunday night drama, albeit one that feels slightly lacking. It doesn’t have the emotional pull of something like Call the Midwife, and it can feel underwritten in places… Still, it’s an interesting period of history.” ★★★★ – The Telegraph

“This is not quite the Sunday night period drama that you might expect… It has a bit more bite than that.” ★★★ – The Guardian


Three Little Birds

What’s it about?

Written by Sir Lenny Henry (Broadchurch, The Long Song), this life affirming six-part drama is inspired by his mother’s stories about leaving Jamaica in the 1950’s for Great Britain, which became her lifelong home and where she raised her family.

Three Little Birds narrates the adventures of gregarious sisters Leah and Chantrelle, who hail from St Anne’s district in Jamaica, and their virtuous, bible-loving acquaintance, Hosanna as they board a cruise ship heading for a new life in Great Britain.

What did the reviews say?

Three Little Birds never forgets to return to a place of joy that captures the heart and tenacity of a people whose spirit is stronger than their struggles.” ★★★★★ – Digital Spy

“Cast, script; it’s all masterfully done … This is a timely and well-told reminder of the sacrifices the Windrush generation made to come here and their resilience in not only surviving, but thriving.” ★★★★ – Evening Standard


Tom Jones

What’s it about?

Based on Henry Fielding’s 1749 novel, ITV’s new four-part period drama comes from the makers of Victoria and Poldark.

Adapted by Vanity Fair screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes, Tom Jones stars Solly McLeod (The Rising) as our hero Tom, alongside Sophie Wilde (You Don’t Know Me) as heroine Sophia Western.

What did the reviews say?

“…a phenomenal cast has been put together for this series and they are, as you’d expect, a delight.” ★★★ – Radio Times

“…this version of Tom Jones boils Fielding’s extensive novel down to the romance between Tom and Sophia, and that’s just fine with us. It’s such a sprawling story, albeit one with a light comedic tone, that putting the focus on the unlikely couple makes it into something contemporary.” – Decider

Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones novel is available on Amazon.


A Town Called Malice

What’s it about?

Set in the early ’80s, A Town Called Malice is a raucous crime thriller and family saga set on the Costa Del Sol, starring Jason Flemyng (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), Jack Rowan (Born to Kill), and Dougray Scott (Desperate Housewives).

Sky’s eight-part series follows the Lords, a crime family of petty thieves from South London who have fallen to the bottom of the criminal food chain – and they’re not happy about it.

What did the reviews say?

A Town Called Malice doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s a blast of Eighties-flavoured fun that explores a fascinating and rather overlooked part of British criminal history. Sign us up for a one-way ticket to the Costa del Crime; it looks like a hoot.” ★★★★ – Evening Standard

“Tou don’t get more 1980s than this bloody crime drama … Zippy, brash and so 80s it’s exhausting, this murder-packed gangland show is sheer mindless entertainment.” ★★★ – The Guardian


The Winter King

What’s is about?

This new TV series from the makers of His Dark Materials adapts the first of Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles novels, set in Britain during the time of King Arthur.

The Winter King sees Derfel Cadarn, a former warrior sworn to Arthur and now an elderly monk, tell the story of how Arthur became warlord of Dark Age Britain despite illegitimacy to the throne.

What did the reviews say?

“It’s gory, talky, and drenched in political and religious intrigue, which makes it a worthy cousin to Game of Thrones.” – IGN

“The new series is not without charms, chief among them a solid core cast. But a rocky start is bound to lose some potential fans before they get to them.” – The Hollywood Reporter

Bernard Cornwell’s The Warlord Chronicles novels are available on Amazon.


Take a look back at our list of 2022’s best new British period drama TV series here!