37 new British TV period drama series you need to see in 2020

British period drama fans have another marvellous year of television ahead for them.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the new British period drama series, mini-series and TV movies you need to see in 2020!

 

Agatha and the Midnight Murders (TV movie)

What’s it about?

Helen Baxendale (Friends) stars as Agatha Christie in the third of Channel 5’s Agatha and the… TV movies.

Set in London in 1940, the fictionalised story sees the author make the decision to kill off her most famous creation – Herucle Poirot – as the Blitz rages and her future is threatened by fallout from the war.

When will it air?

Agatha and the Midnight Murders premieres this October on Channel 5 in the UK.

 

All Creatures Great and Small – Season 1

What’s it about?

Based on author James Herriot’s much-loved collection of stories, this new series from the makers of Downton Abbey stars Callum Woodhouse (The Durrells), Samuel West (Mr Selfridge), Anna Madeley (Patrick Melrose), and Rachel Shenton (White Gold).

All Creatures Great and Small chronicles the heartwarming and humorous adventures of a young country vet in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s.

What did the reviews say?

“Rest assured, this six-part All Creatures Great and Small [succeeds in] piling on the charm without ever getting cloying … The casting is smart and veteran Downton Abbey director Brian Percival knows his way around spectacular scenery. The sense of warmth and community, now more than ever, feels nigh on irresistible.” – The Telegraph

“But from the opening moments of tonight’s episode, it looks as though Channel 5 are on to a winner…” – York Press

The original All Creatures Great and Small is available on DVD on Amazon.

 

Belgravia (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has adapted his 2016 book as a new six-part mini-series for ITV.

The New York Times bestselling novel tells a story of secrets and scandals amongst the upper echelon of London society in the 1840s.

The cast of Belgravia is led by Tamsin Greig (Episodes), Philip Glenister (Life on Mars) and Harriet Walter (Downton Abbey).

What did the reviews say?

Downton follow-up is fun, frothy and fabulous on the eye.” ★★★★ – The Telegraph

“For my money, Belgravia does the job, but not wildly well: there are absolutely zero standout performances, there is no zip to the scripted tete-a-tetes … But, you know, if you have a Downton-shaped hole in your life, Belgravia is here to fill it.” – The Guardian

Belgravia is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

 

Black Narcissus (mini-series)

What’s it about?

BBC One’s new adaptation of Rumer Godden’s 1939 novel Black Narcissus follows Sister Clodagh and the nuns of St Faiths, who travel to Nepal to set up a branch of their order in the remote palace of Mopu.

Starring Gemma Arterton (Their Finest), Diana Rigg (Victoria), Jim Broadbent (War and Peace), Gina McKee (Bodyguard) and Rosie Cavaliero (Gentleman Jack), the three-part mini-series returns the haunting love story to its original setting in the 1930s, as the western colonial order is about to explode into the crisis of World War II.

When will it air?

Black Narcissus will air on BBC One in the UK in December and on FX in the US in November.

Rumer Godden’s novel Black Narcissus is available on Amazon.

 

Bridgerton – Season 1

What’s it about?

From the makers of Grey’s Anatomy, this Netflix drama is based on the bestselling novels by Julia Quinn.

A romantic, scandalous, and quick-witted series that celebrates the timelessness of enduring friendships, families finding their way, and the search for a love that conquers all, Bridgerton is set in the world of Regency London high society in early 1800s England.

When will it air?

All eight episodes will premiere globally on Friday 25th December exclusively on Netflix.

Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton novels are available on Amazon.

 

Call the Midwife – Season 9

What’s it about?

The BBC’s long-running period drama series about a group of nurse midwives working in the East End of London returns for a ninth season.

The show’s creator Heidi Thomas commented: “Even after all these years, it still feels as though Call the Midwife has more truth to tell, more tears to cry, more life to celebrate, and more love to give.

What did the reviews say?

Call the Midwife has long found entertaining ways of mixing soap with science, human interest with a political message. The series nine opener about the nuns and midwives of Nonnatus House was no exception.” – iNews

Call the Midwife phoned in a lacklustre effort for Christmas Day (not a single tear from me; unusual), but then kicked off its new year series with a five-tissue job. This series is at its best when it ditches the jaunty, whimsical subplots (zzzzz) and rides social issues hard.” ★★★★ – The Times

Season 9 is available on DVD on Amazon.

 

The Crown – Season 4

What’s it about?

Olivia Colman (The Favourite) returns in the fourth season of Netflix’s award-winning period drama series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

Set in the 1970s and 1980s, the new episodes introduce historical figures such as Margaret Thatcher, played by Gillian Anderson, and a young Princess Diana.

What did the reviews say?

“Yes, there is a shaky start and the odd historical inaccuracy, but it is in my view [writer Petrer] Morgan’s best series yet and, overall, five-star television.” – The Times

“As sumptuous and well-acted as ever, creator Peter Morgan continues to offer one of the most stunning and riveting dramas on television but this time with even more of a dramatic sense of momentum … Season 4 is the best season yet of the Netflix royal drama and boasts added momentum and marvellous performances…” – The Mirror

The Crown is available to buy on DVD on Amazon.

 

Cursed – Season 1

What’s it about?

This Netflix series is a re-imagination of the Arthurian legend, telling the story of gifted teenage heroine Nimue (Katherine Langford), who is destined to become the famous Lady of the Lake.

Cursed is described as “a coming-of-age story whose themes are familiar to our own time: the obliteration of the natural world, religious terror, senseless war, and finding the courage to lead in the face of the impossible.”

What did the reviews say?

Cursed never quite feels big enough to tell this epic story … but overall the storytelling does a good job of showcasing varied, interesting characters in a growing cycle of violence. However, it might be that some fans don’t stay long enough to find that out. Cursed is definitely a bit of a slow starter…” ★★★ – Radio Times

“It’s Langford’s charm and the aesthetics that sustain Cursed when the story feels too slow or the lingo too obtuse.” – USA Today

 

Dead Still – Season 1

What’s it about?

Set in 1880s Ireland, Dead Still follows a memorial photographer who investigates the murders of his recently deceased subjects.

The six-part Irish period drama series stars Michael Smiley (Luther), Kerr Logan (Game of Thrones), Eileen O’Higgins (Mary Queen of Scots) and Aidan O’Hare (Jackie).

What did the reviews say?

“Very Irish, very funny and boasting this unique hook of a very Victorian tradition, Dead Still is unique enough to stand out in the dense ranks of genre TV – and sharp enough to draw blood. Its humour, rooted in period detail, class-consciousness, and juxtaposition, is an endless pleasure…” ★★★★ – Ready Steady Cut

“For any with a soft spot for British drama, who are open to throwing in a bit of “ghost story creepiness” that can’t manage a PG rating, this is curious, but brilliant entertainment. It ultimately owes as much to production design as the wildly engaging cast, because the time and culture become a character…” – Are You Screening

Dead Still is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

 

Des (mini-series)

What’s it about?

David Tennant (Broadchurch, Doctor Who) stars in this three-part true crime drama for ITV.

Based on Brian Masters’ book Killing for CompanyDes follows the arrest and trial of real-life serial killer Dennis Nilsen, known as Des, who murdered boys and young men in his flat from 1978 to 1983.

The cast also includes Daniel Mays (Line of Duty) and Jason Watkins (The Crown).

What did the reviews say?

“David Tennant excels as a perfectly ordinary serial killer. This sensitive, finely worked drama shows us the unrelentingly bleak reality of the monstrous narcissist Dennis Nilsen’s macabre murders.” ★★★★ – The Guardian

“Mesmerising David Tennant has killer down to a tee.” ★★★★★ – The Times

Brian Masters’ book Killing for Company is available on Amazon.

 

Doctor Who – Season 12

What’s it about?

The BBC’s long-running time travel drama series is back, with Broadchurch star Jodie Whitaker returning as the Thirteenth Doctor.

The ten new episodes see the TARDIS travel through time and space once more, with historical adventures including encounters with Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, inventor Nikola Tesla, and 19th Century mathematician Ada Lovelace.

What did the reviews say?

Doctor Who at its best is a blend of belts and braces sci-fi and Horrible Histories strapped to a jet pack … It is brash, bonkers and unstinting – everything you want from Doctor Who, especially in the glum days of early January.” ★★★★ – The Independent

“There’s a sense of renewed confidence in showrunner Chris Chibnall’s writing and in the polished performances of the central quartet, returning for a second lap.” ★★★★ – Radio Times

Season 12 is available on DVD on Amazon.

 

Dracula (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Sherlock writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have teamed up again for a new version of Bram Stoker’s classic Gothic novel Dracula.

Set in Transylvania in 1897 as the blood-drinking Count draws his plans against Victorian London, BBC One’s three 90-minute episodes “re-introduce the world to Dracula, the vampire who made evil sexy.”

What did the reviews say?

“A blood-sucking delight that leaves you thirsty for more … Fun, smart, scary and with just the right whiff of ham … Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have served up a diabolic luxury.” ★★★★★ – The Guardian

“Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, creators of Sherlock, have adapted – loosely, it must be said – Bram Stoker’s classic as a New Year three-parter. The job they have done is quite bonkers … This shouldn’t work at all and yet it does, provided you’re here for entertainment rather than a good fright.” ★★★★ – The Telegraph

Bram Stoker’s original novel is available on Amazon.

 

Endeavour – Season 7

What’s it about?

Shaun Evans returns as DS Endeavour Morse, alongside Roger Allam as DI Fred Thursday, in three new feature-length stories.

Set in 1970, the seventh season of Endeavour “will test Endeavour’s moral compass to breaking point, both personally and professionally.”

What did the reviews say?

“Shaun Evans … gives us an excellently nuanced show as the younger Morse, adopting hints of some of the elder Morse’s little ticks and mannerisms, in a miniature homage to John Thaw.” – The Independent

“With the help of a mordantly funny script by writer Russell Lewis, [Shaun] Evans has proved that he has Morse’s measure.” – Den of Geek

Season 7 is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

 

The English Game (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes makes his Netflix debut with The English Game, a new period drama exploring the origins of football.

Set in the late 1800s, the six-part event series delves into how the sport crossed class lines and became a worldwide phenomenon despite its humble beginnings on the pitch at London’s Limes Field.

What did the reviews say?

“Julian Fellowes scores with winning drama about the birth of football.” ★★★★ – The Telegraph

“It is Downton Abbey for boys.” – The Guardian

 

Father Brown – Season 8

What’s it about?

Set in the Cotswolds in the early 1950s and based on the stories by GK Chesterton, the BBC’s hit daytime drama series returns for a eighth season.

Harry Potter actor Mark Williams reprises his role as the crime-busting Roman Catholic priest, alongside regulars Sorcha Cusack, Emer Kenny, Jack Deam and John Burton.

What did the reviews say?

“…Father Brown was back on BBC daytime, solving sleepy riddles involving church choirs and Cotswold village fetes … Low on graphic violence, sex or profanity but high on bumbling eccentrics and mild misunderstandings … the comfy televisual equivalent of cardigan and slippers.” – The Telegraph

Season 8 is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

 

Grantchester – Season 5

What’s it about?

Outlander actor Tom Brittney is back as DI Geordie Keating’s new crime-solving partner in a fifth season of ITV’s crime drama based on James Runcie’s novels.

Picking up in 1957, a year after the events of Season 4’s finale, for many of the residents of Grantchester, it feels like they’re in a delightful new Eden, but for all the talk of paradise on earth and faith-in-action, Geordie Keating knows that trouble is never far away.

What did the reviews say?

“…as edgy as a toasted teacake, but there’s bite beneath the cosy surface.” – The Telegraph

Season 5 is available on DVD on Amazon.

 

The Great – Season 1

What’s it about?

Elle Fanning (Ginger & Rosa) and Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite) star in Hulu’s satirical, comedic drama about the rise of Catherine the Great.

Featuring “only occasional historical facts,” The Great follows Catherine’s rise from outsider to the longest-reigning female ruler in Russia’s history.

What did the reviews say?

The Great straddles the line between period drama and slapstick comedy with acrobatic ease … The cast is uniformly strong, and the series’ brisk and deliberate pacing makes sure to let each central actor show it (and luxuriate in McNamara’s uniquely spiky dialogue, besides).” – Variety

“It is fun, somehow, which is extra impressive amid so much torture and death and critique of aristocratic privilege. It’s also not historically accurate, and it’s not trying to be.” – Vulture

 

In the Long Run – Season 3

What’s it about?

Created by and starring Idris Elba, the Luther actor’s semi-autobiographical comedy series is based on his childhood in London during the eighties.

The third season sees the welcome arrival of Walter’s mum from Sierra Leone, with Walter desperate to impress. Meanwhile, Valentine finally finds love and some developers start taking an interest in the Eastbridge Estate, threatening the very existence of the community.

What did the reviews say?

“Elba takes inspiration from his own family history in this gentle, accessible comedy … As a comedy this is not always laugh-out-loud stuff … but its warmth and charm is undeniable.” – Evening Standard

In the Long Run is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

 

The Last Kingdom – Season 4

What’s it about?

Set in the late 9th century AD, when England is divided into seven separate kingdoms, Netflix’s epic historical drama series is based on the Saxon Stories novels by English author Bernard Cornwell.

After the death of Alfred, the alliances between the kingdoms are fractured. Uhtred believes the timing is right to challenge his uncle Aelfric, played by Joseph Millson (Casino Royale), and take back his ancestral home, Bebbanburg.

However fate shifts in a different direction, leading Uhtred to realise that his destiny is tied to Alfred’s dream of a united land. This, and Uhtred’s feelings for Aethelflaed, drive him back into the politics that threaten to break out into war.

What did the reviews say?

“If Season 3 felt like a possible ending for The Last Kingdom, Season 4 ushers in a new era for the series that readies it for many more stories. As a result, the pace sometimes feels less urgent as new characters are introduced and put in place, but rest assured that there are plenty more shocking moments to keep you hooked throughout.” ★★★★ – Radio Times

“The good news is that The Last Kingdom continues to fascinate and intrigue, even if it has lost a degree of emotional intensity.” ★★★★ – The Arts Desk

The Last Kingdom is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

 

Little Birds (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Set in Tangier in northwestern Morocco in 1955, Sky Atlantic’s “playful and intensely evocative” six-part period drama series is based on Nin’s infamous collection of erotic short stories.

29-year-old English actress Juno Temple (Atonement) leads the cast as troubled American debutante Lucy Savage in the “provocative, intelligent, emotionally vibrant and unashamedly entertaining” series.

What did the reviews say?

“It’s unclear exactly which characters to focus on and what their motives are, and tonally the show is confused. On the one hand, it’s very silly and gloriously camp. On the other, there are serious themes of coercion, enforced medication and psychological manipulation, as well as a subplot about colonialism in Fifties Morocco.” ★★★ – The Independent

Little Birds is an unusual, ambitious and visually striking series about power and freedom. Its narrative strands may not all coalesce, but its imagery and force is unforgettable…” – Den of Geek

Anais Nin’s book Little Birds is available on Amazon.

 

The Luminaries (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Novelist Eleanor Catton has adapted her award-winning novel for BBC Two as a six-part mini-series.

Set on the Wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island during the 1860s gold rush, The Luminaries is described as “an epic story of love, murder and revenge.”

The cast includes Eva Green (Penny Dreadful), Eve Hewson (Bridge of Spies), Himesh Patel (EastEnders), Ewen Leslie (The Cry) and Marton Csokas (Lord of the Rings).

What did the review say?

“A compulsively complex novel becomes simply addictive TV … Eleanor Catton has adapted her New Zealand-set page-turner into a must-see full of intrigue, opium and political machinations.” ★★★★ – The Guardian

The Luminaries will be too frustrating for some, but even for those who haven’t read the novel, Catton and McCarthy have crafted one of the most visually arresting dramas of the year.” ★★★★ – The Arts Desk

Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries novel is available on Amazon.

 

Malory Towers – Season 1

What’s it about?

Based on the classic novels by English author Enid Blyton, Malory Towers follows the adventures of Darrell Rivers as she leaves home for the first time to attend an all girls’ boarding school.

Set in post-war Britain on the sun-drenched cliffs of the Cornish coast, the 13-part children’s series explores a nostalgic world of midnight feasts, lacrosse, pranks, a mystery ghost and lasting friendships.

What did the reviews say?

“It bowls along so smoothly and sweetly that you would be hard pressed not to love it.” ★★★★ – The Guardian

“A thoroughly modern take on a classic Enid Blyton series.” ★★★★ – iNews

Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers books are available on Amazon.

 

Medici – Season 3

What’s it about?

This British-Italian series follows the Medici family, bankers of the Pope, in 15th century Florence, exploring the political and artistic landscape of Renaissance Italy.

Medici features a cast of familiar British actors, including Rose Williams (Sanditon), Bradley James (Merlin), Sarah Parish (Cutting It), and Johnny Harris (This is England ’86).

What did the reviews say?

“The series is thought-provoking, going beyond the realm of sheer entertainment value.” – Independent Catholic News

“More hysterical than historical, chronological accuracy obviously goes out the stained glass window … Yet as a soap opera in a fancy cape it is an unexpurgated hoot.” ★★★ – The Telegraph

 

Miss Scarlet and The Duke – Season 1

What’s it about?

Created by Grantchester writer Rachael New, Miss Scarlet and The Duke follows the first ever-female detective in 19th century London.

The six-part crime drama series stars Kate Phillips (Wolf Hall), Stuart Martin (Jamestown), Ansu Kabia (World on Fire), Andrew Gower (Carnival Row) and Kevin Doyle (Downton Abbey).

What did the reviews say?

“Tongue-in-cheek, funny and pacy … Eliza Scarlet, played by Peaky Blinders actress Kate Phillips, is my new favourite private investigator, a refreshing break from the norm. A kickass Jessica Fletcher in ­bloomers and a bustle.” – Mirror

Miss Scarlet Etc is that very modern thing, a genre piece in a feminist bonnet, delivered in a tone that stays expertly on the chaste side of parody, while not taking itself entirely seriously.” – Evening Standard

 

The North Water (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Colin Farrell (Saving Mr Banks) and Jack O’Connell (Godless) lead the cast of BBC Two’s adaptation of Ian McGuire’s The North Water.

Set in the UK and the ice floes of the Arctic in the late 1850s, the four-part mini-series tells the story of a disgraced ex-army surgeon who signs up on a whaling expedition to the Arctic. Hoping to escape the horrors of his past, he finds himself on an ill-fated journey with a murderous psychopath.

When will it air?

The North Water will air on BBC Two in the UK in 2020.

Ian McGuire’s novel The North Water is available on Amazon.

 

Outlander – Season 5

What’s it about?

Based on the fifth book in author Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, the new season sees Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) “fight time, space, and history to protect their family.”

Establishing a home in the New World is by no means an easy task – and protecting it proves even more difficult – particularly in the wild backcountry of North Carolina during a period of dramatic sociopolitical upheaval.

What did the reviews say?

Outlander season five has all the elements fans love—romance, drama, insane circumstances that keep Jamie and Claire apart—while presenting them in new, refreshing ways.” – Glamour

“…the time travel period romance has truly found its footing. While the early seasons had a habit of wavering in quality, especially when it came to the pacing and an over-reliance on voice-over, the series has now found a new level of maturity which matches its central characters.” – Collider

Season 5 is available on DVD on Amazon.

 

The Pale Horse (mini-series)

What’s it about?

From the makers of The ABC MurdersAnd Then There Were None and Ordeal By Innocence, the BBC’s latest Agatha Christie adaptation is based on 1961’s The Pale Horse.

When a mysterious list of names is found in the shoe of a dead woman, one of those named, Mark Easterbrook, begins an investigation into how and why his name came to be there.

The cast includes Rufus Sewell (Victoria), Kaya Scodelario (Skins), Bertie Carvel (Doctor Foster) and Sean Pertwee (Elementary).

What did the reviews say?

“A twisted, thoroughly enthralling take on a classic Agatha Christie mystery.” ★★★★★ – Empire

The Pale Horse is a clever choice for TV, because the story will be a genuine mystery to most viewers … Sewell’s difficulty is to make his character likable, when clearly a bounder. He manages it by being Rufus Sewell: saturnine, strong of jaw and piercing of eye.” ★★★★★ – The Daily Mail

The Pale Horse is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

 

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels – Season 1

What’s it about?

Featuring all new characters, Showtime’s Penny Dreadful spin-off moves the action on from Victorian London to Los Angeles in the 1930s.

Rooted in the conflict between characters connected to the deity Santa Muerte and others allied with the Devil, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels explores an exciting mix of the supernatural and the combustible reality of that period, creating new occult myths and moral dilemmas within a genuine historical backdrop.

The cast includes Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones, Picnic At Hanging Rock), Nathan Lane (Modern Family) and Daniel Zovatto (Agents Of SHIELD).

What did the reviews say?

“Magnetic but messy escapism … The ‘spiritual descendant’ of the macabre Victorian series offers heavily plotted yet beguiling horror in 1930s Los Angeles.” ★★★ – The Guardian

“…while it’s unclear who exactly the series is meant to appeal to, the sheer power of its cast keeps things moving.” – IndieWire

Season 1 is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

 

Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse (TV movie)

What’s it about?

The Vicar of Dibley star Dawn French plays Peter Rabbit creator Beatrix Potter in this one-off TV movie from the makers of Sherlock and Dracula.

Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse is inspired by the true story of when a young Roald Dahl met his hero, Beatrix Potter.

With Beatrix coming to the end of her career and Roald aged only six and having recently lost his father and sister, this meeting of two literary legends was to have an enormous impact on the lives of both writers.

When does it air?

Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse will premiere in the UK on Sky One and NOW TV this Christmas.

Roald Dahl’s autobiography Boy: Tales of Childhood is available on Amazon.

 

The Singapore Grip (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Oscar winning screenwriter and playwright Christopher Hampton (AtonementDangerous Liaisons) has adapted Booker Prize winner J.G. Farrell’s classic novel as a new six-part mini-series for ITV.

Set during World War Two, The Singapore Grip centres on a British family living in Singapore at the time of the Japanese invasion in 1941.

Luke Treadaway (Ordeal By Innocence) will lead the cast as reluctant hero Matthew Webb, alongside David Morrissey (Britannia), Charles Dance (Game of Thrones) and Jane Horrocks (Absolutely Fabulous).

What did the review say?

“ITV’s sumptuous new six-part ITV drama … is a satire, poking fun at the leading lights of the British Empire who party on, obliviously, as danger approaches. And in a gentle way, it’s really quite funny!” ★★★★ – Radio Times

“Even with its social commentary, the series has an easy vibe … and it’s a very digestible experience, especially when you also factor in the lush production design and costuming.” – News.com.au

J.G. Farrell’s novel is available to buy on Amazon.

 

Small Axe (mini-series)

What’s it about?

From 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen, BBC One’s new anthology drama series is set within London’s West Indian community from the late 1960s to the early 80s.

Small Axe will tell five separate stories, with a cast that includes John Boyega (Star Wars), Letitia Wright (Avengers: Infinity War), Shaun Parkes (Lost In Space), Rochenda Sandall (Line of Duty) and Alex Jennings (Victoria).

What did the reviews say?

“[John] Boyega takes his career to the next level with a heroic and even tragic portrayal of Logan.” ★★★★★ – The Guardian

“McQueen’s gripping true-life drama compensates for some of its more heavy-handed beats thanks to Boyega’s staggering, career-best performance and the fiery tone that surrounds it at every turn.” – IndieWire

 

A Suitable Boy (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Award-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies (Sanditon, Mr Selfridge) has adapted Vikram Seth’s bestseller A Suitable Boy for BBC One.

Set during the 1950s, the six-part series tells the story of a young woman’s search for love and identity in a newly independent, post-Partition India defining its own future.

What did the reviews say?

“Settle down for an Indian summer of love with this ambitious adaptation … The BBC’s take on Vikram Seth’s epic novel is the perfect Sunday-night saga … [the director] has succeeded in creating a world with charm and drama.” ★★★★ – Evening Standard

“Seth’s saga becomes sumptuous Sunday night fare. Andrew Davies has stripped away all the fat from Vikram Seth’s enormous novel and left us with a gorgeous TV drama.” ★★★★ – The Telegraph

Vikram Seth’s novel A Suitable Boy is available on Amazon.

 

The Trial of Christine Keeler (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Amanda Coe (Apple Tree Yard) has written this new six-part BBC One drama, exploring the true story of the Profumo affair in the 1960s.

The Trial of Christine Keeler takes viewers “behind the headlines to tell a human story about the sexual and cultural politics of one of the most revealing and iconic stories of modern times.”

Sophie Cookson (Kingsman: The Secret Service) will lead the cast as Christine Keeler, alongside James Norton (Grantchester), Ben Miles (The Crown) and Ellie Bamber (Les Miserables).

What did the reviews say?

“If The Trial doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of last year’s A Very English Scandal, about the 70s equivalent of Keeler and its fallout, it remains a furiously fast, fun ride which doesn’t let the deeper, darker issues fall from its grasp.” ★★★★ – The Guardian

“…it’s an extremely handsome, expensive-looking production that wouldn’t look out of place dropped into a run of The Crown. Indeed, two of Her Majesty’s Prime Ministers from that show, Anton Lesser and Michael Maloney, pop up here, in a cast that radiates class at every level.” ★★★★ – Radio Times

The Trial of Christine Keeler is available on DVD on Amazon.

 

Upstart Crow – Christmas 2020 special

What’s it about?

Loosely based on the life and times of William Shakespeare, BBC Two’s historical comedy series is written by Ben Elton (BlackadderThe Young Ones).

This year’s Christmas special is set in London 1603 and finds Will (David Mitchell) and Kate (Gemma Whelan) in lockdown due to the plague.

When will it air?

The episode is expected to air on BBC Two in the UK on Christmas Day.

Upstart Crow is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

 

Vikings – Season 6

What’s it about?

Inspired by the sagas of Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, History’s hit historical drama continues its final season.

After years of turmoil and tragedy, Vikings reaches its biggest climax yet with the Vikings traveling to never-before-seen locations thousands of miles from Kattegat, meeting vicious rivals worthy of their strategic combat and finally facing the consequences of Ragnar’s death.

When will it air?

The second half of Season 6 will air on History in the US later in 2020 and will premiere in the UK on Amazon Prime Video shortly after its US broadcast.

Vikings is available on DVD on Amazon.

 

White House Farm (mini-series)

What’s it about?

From the makers of The Missing and based on extensive research, ITV’s six-part factual drama tells the true story of the fateful night in August 1985 when five members of the same family were murdered at a farmhouse in Essex.

The cast includes Freddie Fox (Parade’s End), Mark Addy (Game of Thrones), Stephen Graham (Line of Duty), Gemma Whelan (Gentleman Jack) and Amanda Burton (Silent Witness).

What did the reviews say?

“A masterful portrait of a cold, arrogant killer … White House Farm has maintained its high quality throughout, but you may, like me, think that as a six-parter it was one episode too long, last week’s seeming padded out.” ★★★★ – The Times

“The script is lacking in this bloated tale of a tragic true crime.” – iNews

 

The Windermere Children (TV movie)

What’s it about?

Iain Glen (Downton Abbey), Romola Garai (The Hour) and Tim McInnerny (Blackadder) star in this “stark, moving and ultimately redemptive story,” marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust.

The Windermere Children is based on the first-person testimony of some of these now elderly survivors of the Holocaust, whose filmed interviews also feature in the 90-minute TV movie.

What did the reviews say?

“It is rare indeed to find a television dramatisation, even one concerned, as here, with the Holocaust, that exercises such a raw emotional power.” ★★★★ – The Independent

“Every now and then, something comes along that reminds you just how powerful television can be; just how much it can touch you and move you, leaving you emotionally battered and yet profoundly grateful for the experience of having watched. The Windermere Children is one such drama.” ★★★★★ – Radio Times

The Windermere Children is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

 

Take a look at our list of 2019’s best British TV period dramas here.