22 new British period drama movies you need to see in 2020

British period drama fans have another marvellous year at the cinema coming up.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the new British period drama films you need to see in 2020!



What’s it about?

Kate Winslet (Titanic) plays fossil finder Mary Anning, who is today considered by many scholars as “the greatest fossilist the world has known,” despite her work being widely regarded as a hoax during her lifetime.

Set in 1800s England, Ammonite also stars Saoirse Ronan (Mary Queen of Scots), Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve), Alec Secareanu (God’s Own Country) and Gemma Jones (Gentleman Jack).

When’s it out?

Ammonite is set to arrive in cinemas in 2020.


Death on the Nile

What’s it about?

Kenneth Branagh returns as Hercule Poirot in the sequel to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express.

Based on Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery novel, Death on the Nile sees Poirot investigate a murder while on a luxury cruise on the Nile River in Egypt.

The all-star cast includes Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name), Rose Leslie (Downton Abbey), Letitia Wright (Black Panther), Annette Bening (American Beauty), Ali Fazal (Victoria & Abdul), Sophie Okonedo (Christopher Robin), Tom Bateman (Vanity Fair), Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous), Dawn French (The Vicar of Dibley) and comedian Russell Brand.

When’s it out?

Death on the Nile sails in to cinemas on 9th October 2020.

Agatha Christie’s novel Death on the Nile is available on Amazon.


A Christmas Carol

What’s it about?

Carey Mulligan (Suffragette), Daniel Kaluuya (Black Panther), Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings) and Martin Freeman (Sherlock) lead the voice cast of this new animated adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic festive tale.

Co-director David Morris hopes to retell the story “in an innovative way, that faithfully expresses what Dickens was trying to say.”

When’s it out?

A Christmas Carol will be released for Christmas 2020.



What’s it about?

Based on Jane Austen’s classic 1815 novel, this new movie adaptation from the producers of Winston Churchill drama The Darkest Hour stars Peaky Blinders actress Anya Taylor-Joy as the iconic title character.

She’s joined by Bill Nighy (Love Actually), comedian Miranda Hart (Call the Midwife), Josh O’Connor (The Durrells) and Johnny Flynn (Vanity Fair).

When’s it out?

Emma arrives in UK cinemas on 14th February.

Jane Austen’s novel Emma is available on Amazon.


Enola Holmes

What’s it about?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child writer Jack Thorne has adapted Nancy Springer’s book series about the younger sister of Sherlock Holmes.

Set in Victorian London, Enola Holmes stars Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) as the titular young detective, alongside Henry Cavill (Batman vs Superman) as Sherlock Holmes, Sam Claflin (Peaky Blinders) as Mycroft Holmes, and Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown) as their mother Eudoria.

When’s it out?

Enola Holmes will arrive in cinemas in 2020.

Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes novels are available on Amazon.



What’s it about?

The Theory of Everything director James Marsh adapts the bestselling memoir of English concert pianist James Rhodes, played by Andrew Garfield (Breathe).

Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication, and Music reveals how music saved the piano prodigy’s life after he was abused during his time at his all-boys junior school.

When’s it out?

Instrumental will be released in 2020.

James Rhodes’ book Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication, and Music is available on Amazon.



What’s it about?

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch plays a real-life Cold War spy in this new Cold War thriller movie set in the 1960s, from the director of On Chesil Beach and The Hollow Crown.

Ironbark tells the incredible true story of Greville Wynne, a British businessman who worked with the CIA to penetrate the Soviet nuclear program during the Cold War, providing information that helped end the Cuban Missile Crisis.

When’s it out?

Ironbark will be released in early 2020.


The King’s Man

What’s it about?

Rocketman producer Matthew Vaughn returns to direct the third instalment of the (often absolutely insane) Kingsman spy-action movie franchise.

Exploring the espionage organisation’s origins in the early 1900s, The King’s Man stars Ralph Fiennes (Skyfall), Gemma Arterton (Their Finest), Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill), Matthew Goode (Downton Abbey) and Charles Dance (Game of Thrones).

When’s it out?

The King’s Man arrives in cinemas on 18th September 2020.

The first Kingsman movie is available on DVD on Amazon.


Last Night in Soho

What’s it about?

Last Night in Soho is the first period piece from Shawn of the Dead director Edgar Wright.

Set in 1960s London, the psychological horror film stars Anya Taylor-Joy (Peaky Blinders), Matt Smith (The Crown), Diana Rigg (Victoria) and Terence Stamp (Superman II).

When’s it out?

Last Night in Soho will be released on 25th September 2020.


Let Me Count The Ways

What’s it about?

From the makers of Belle, Let Me Count the Ways dramatises the love affair between the Elizabeth Barrett Browning and playwright Robert Browning in the mid-19th century.

The Victorian poet is played by English actress Emilia Clarke, best known as Daenerys in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

When’s it out?

Let Me Count the Ways is set for release in 2020.


Louis Wain

What’s it about?

Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) plays painter Louis Wain, best known for his artworks featuring anthropomorphized large-eyed cats and kittens.

Louis Wain tells the extraordinary true story of a brilliant man inspired by both his love of the world and the love of his life Emily, played by The Crown star Claire Foy.

When’s it out?

Louis Wain will be released in 2020.



What’s it about?

Historical action-drama Medieval tells the story of 14th century Czech national hero and revered military tactician Jan Zizka, who defeated armies of the Teutonic Order and the Holy Roman Empire.

Joining Ben Foster as Zizka are Sir Michael Caine and Narnia star William Moseley.

When’s it out?

Medieval will be released in 2020.



What’s it about?

Based on real events, Misbehaviour dramatises the story of the feminist activists who invaded the Miss World pageant in London in 1970.

Keira Knightley leads the cast, alongside Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle), Jessie Buckley (War & Peace), Greg Kinnear (Little Miss Sunshine), Lesley Manville (World on Fire), Keeley Hawes (The Durrells), Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill) and Phyllis Logan (Downton Abbey).

When’s it out?

Misbehaviour will be released in UK cinemas on 13th March.


Mr Jones

What’s it about?

Based on the true life-or-death journey that inspired George Orwell to write Animal Farm, this dramatic thriller tells the story of a British investigative journalist who travels deep into the Soviet Union to uncover an international conspiracy in 1933.

The all-star cast of Mr Jones includes James Norton (Grantchester), Vanessa Kirby (The Crown), Peter Sarsgaard (The Killing) and Fenella Woolgar (Call the Midwife).

When’s it out?

Mr Jones is expected to be released in early 2020.



What’s it about?

Skyfall director Sam Mendes’ new World War I movie 1917 has been filmed as one continuous shot.

At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (George MacKay from The Secret of Marrowbone) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman from Game of Thrones) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers— Blake’s own brother among them.

The cast also includes Colin Firth (Pride & Prejudice), Richard Madden (Bodyguard) and Daniel Mays (Line of Duty), with Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Scott.

What did the reviews say?

“Almost everything you’ve ever seen in a war film is here. But never quite like this. It is very much a stylistic exercise, but if you’re going to do that, you have to really go for it. And 1917 really, really goes for it … it’s an astonishing piece of filmmaking, portraying war with enormous panache.” ★★★★ – Empire

“Directed by Sam Mendes, a lot has been made of the technical choice to shoot the movie as though it’s one continuous two-hour shot. But all that actually matters is that 1917 is really, really good. Tense, powerful and breathtaking, 1917 is a visceral movie you won’t forget in a hurry.” ★★★★★ – Digital Spy


Operation Mincemeat

What’s it about?

Set in 1943, this World War II movie from the makers of The King’s Speech stars Colin Firth (Pride & Prejudice), Matthew Macfadyen (Ripper Street) and Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey).

The story follows two brilliant intelligence officers who conceived a plan to trick the Nazis that was dubbed Operation Mincemeat.

When’s it out?

Operation Mincemeat is expected to arrive in cinemas in late 2020.

Ben McIntyre’s book Operation Mincemeat is available on Amazon.


The Personal History of David Copperfield

What’s it about?

Dev Patel (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) stars as David Copperfield in this “fresh and distinctive take” on Charles Dickens’ masterpiece from The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci.

Set in 1840s London, The Personal History of David Copperfield also features Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw and Gwendoline Christie.

When’s it out?

The Personal History of David Copperfield arrives in UK cinemas on 10th January 2020.

Charles Dickens’ novel David Copperfield is available on Amazon.



What’s it about?

Adapted by Jane Goldman (The Woman in Black), this new adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s classic romantic Gothic thriller stars Lily James (Downton Abbey), Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name) and Keeley Hawes (The Durrells).

Rebecca tells the story of a newly-married young woman who, on arriving at her husband’s imposing family estate on a bleak English coast, finds herself battling the shadow of his dead first wife, the mysterious Rebecca, whose legacy continues to haunt the house.

When’s it out?

Rebecca is expected to premiere on Netflix in early 2020.

Daphne du Maurier’s novel Rebecca is available on Amazon.


The Secret Garden

What’s it about?

Colin Firth (Pride & Prejudice) and Julie Walters (Mamma Mia) star in this new family movie from the producer of Harry Potter, based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic 1910 novel.

The Secret Garden tells the story of an unloved 10-year-old girl who is sent back to England to live with her uncle in his remote manor house, where she discovers a wondrous secret garden with her cousin.

When’s it out?

The Secret Garden will be released in cinemas on 17th April 2020.


A Special Relationship

What’s it about?

Rachel Weisz (The Favourite) plays Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor in this biopic about the Oscar-winning star’s journey from actress to activist.

A Special Relationship comes from the makers of The King’s Speech, with a screenplay by Slumdog Millionaire writer Simon Beaufoy.

The movie is described as “a celebration of how friendships can change people’s lives, and how Elizabeth helped change the world.”

When’s it out?

A Special Relationship will be released in late 2020.



What’s it about?

In 1971, a 24 year old David Bowie (Johnny Flynn) embarks on his first road trip to America with struggling publicist Ron Oberman (Marc Maron), only to be met with a world not yet ready for him.

Stardust offers a glimpse behind the curtain of the moments that inspired the creation of Bowie’s first and most memorable alter ego Ziggy Stardust, capturing the turning point that cemented his career as one of the world’s greatest cultural icons.

When’s it out?

Stardust is expected to arrive in cinemas in early 2020.


The True History of the Kelly Gang

What’s it about?

Adapted from Peter Carey’s novel, True History of the Kelly Gang stars George McKay (1917) as Australian outlaw Ned Kelly.

The cast also includes Russell Crowe (Gladiator), Essie Davies (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries), Nicholas Hoult (Tolkien) and Charlie Hunnam (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword).

When’s it out?

True History of the Kelly Gang is released in the UK on 28th February.


Take a look at our list of 2019’s best British period drama movies here.