35 great British period drama box sets to watch on BBC iPlayer this winter

There’s currently a wonderful selection of British period drama series on BBC iPlayer right now.

UK viewers who have a TV licence can watch the BBC’s streaming service on a wide range of devices, including tablets, mobile phones, computers and smart televisions – all with no adverts!

In addition to featuring recently aired shows for catch-up, BBC iPlayer also showcases a huge array of classic series from the corporation’s archive.

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We’ve put together this list of suggestions for British period drama fans to check out on BBC iPlayer this winter:

 

A Farewell to Arms (movie)

In World War I, an American serving as an ambulance driver in Italy falls in love with a nurse in this 1932 adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s novel.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

Around the World in 80 Days (8 episodes)

Based on Jules Verne’s classic 1873 novel, this period drama adventure series stars David Tennant (BroadchurchDoctor Who) as intrepid explorer Phileas Fogg.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

A Suitable Boy (6 episodes)

Set in India during the 1950s, Vikram Seth’s modern classic has been adapted by Sanditon writer Andrew Davies.

In newly independent India, passionate literature student Lata Mehra is torn between family duty and the promise of romance as three very different men try to win her heart.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

Atlantis (25 episodes)

From the makers of Merlin, a submarine accident lands Jason on a mysterious island ruled by heroes and mythical creatures. With the help of new friends, will he find his destiny?

Available for 10 month.

Watch here!

 

A Very English Scandal (3 episodes)

Based on the true story and written by Russell T Davies (Doctor WhoThe Grand), this darkly comic three-part mini-series tells the true story of an illegal love affair that threatened the life of one man and the entire British establishment in 1960s England.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

A Very British Scandal (3 episodes)

The follow-up to 2018’s A Very English Scandal focuses on one of the most notorious, extraordinary and brutal legal cases of the 20th century: the divorce of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll. Leading the cast are Claire Foy (The Crown) and Paul Bettany (The Da Vinci Code).

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

Call the Midwife (96 episodes)

Based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, the BBC’s hit period drama series follows a group of nurse midwives working in the East End of London in the 1950s and 1960s.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

The Disappearance of Pato (movie)

Based on the historical novel by Andrea Camilleri, the creator of Inspector Montalbano, The Disappearance of Pato is set in Montalbano’s Sicilian town of Vigata, but in 1890.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

The Duchess of Malfi (play)

From London’s Globe Theatre, Andrew Marr presents a new production of John Webster’s bloody revenge tragedy The Duchess of Malfi (1614) performed in a perfect recreation of an early Jacobean theatre.

Available for 5 months.

Watch here!

 

Effie Gray (movie)

Emma Thompson writers and stars in this 2014 movie, alongside Dakota Fanning, Julie Walters, David Suchet, Derek Jacobi, and Robbie Coltrane.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

The English (6 episodes)

Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria) leads the cast of Hugo Blick’s high-octane epic western as an aristocratic Englishwoman in late 19th century America.

Available for 10 months.

Watch here!

 

Father Brown (10 episodes)

Based on the stories by GK Chesterton, BBC One’s period crime drama follows the titular clerical sleuth’s mystery-solving skills in the Cotswolds during the early 1950s.

Available for 1 month.

Watch here!

 

Fosse/Verdon (8 episodes)

This American biographical mini-series, shown on the BBC in 2019, stars Sam Rockwell as director-choreographer Bob Fosse and Michelle Williams as actress and dancer Gwen Verdon.

Available for 7 months.

Watch here!

 

Gentleman Jack (16 episodes)

Based on the diaries of remarkable Regency landowner Anne Lister, this drama is set in Halifax, 1832. Rejected by aristocratic Vere Hobart, Anne Lister returns to her shabby ancestral home, Shibden Hall, determined to restore its fortunes and find herself a wife.

Available for 5 months.

Watch here!

 

How Green Was My Valley (6 episodes)

Based on the novel by Richard Llewellyn, the BBC’s classic serial from the 1970s tells the story of a mining family in South Wales during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Available for 10 months.

Watch here!

 

Merlin (65 episodes)

Based on the legend of King Arthur and Merlin, this fantasy adventure drama ran for five seasons on BBC One.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

The Mezzotint (short film)

Written by Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss, the spooky 30-minute drama is based on M. R. James’ 1904 ghost story. Rory Kinnear is joined by Robert Bathurst (Downton Abbey), Frances Barber (Doctor Who), and Nikesh Patel (Indian Summers).

Available for 1 months.

Watch here!

 

Mrs. America (9 episodes)

Cate Blanchett stars in FX’s stylish, treacherous true story exploring women, fights, and fallout on both sides of America’s sex equality war in the 1970s.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

The Musketeers (30 episodes)

A thrilling world of action, adventure and romance inspired by Dumas’ legendary characters, starring Tom Burke (Strike), Santiago Cabrera (Merlin), and Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who).

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

My Name is Leon (movie)

Based on Kit de Waal’s novel, this tender and inspiring 90-minute film is set in Birmingham, England in the 1980s. My Name is Leon tells the story of nine year-old Leon’s quest to reunite his family after being taken into care.

Available for 5 months.

Watch here!

 

The North Water (5 episodes)

The BBC’s five-part adaptation of Ian McGuire’s critically acclaimed 2016 novel is set in the ice floes of the Arctic in the late 1850s.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

Our World War (3 episodes)

Tense combat drama series from 2014 revealing experiences of British soldiers in World War One.

Available for 8 months.

Watch here!

 

Peaky Blinders (36 episodes)

Stylish, epic gangster saga. Fierce, damaged crime boss Tommy Shelby stalks the lawless streets of 1920s Birmingham, carving out an empire for himself and his family.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

Prisoner C33 (play)

Trevor Nunn’s one-man play finds Oscar Wilde (Toby Stephens) confined in Reading Gaol. His younger self appears, and the two men wrestle with the humiliation of Wilde’s fall from celebrity to convict.

Available for 4 months.

Watch here!

 

The Pursuit of Love (3 episodes)

A romantic comedy-drama about love and friendship, this three-part adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s classic 1945 novel tells the story of an upper-class English family between the First and Second World Wars.

Available for 6 months.

Watch here!

 

Ridley Road (4 episodes)

Based on Jo Bloom’s critically acclaimed novel, Ridley Road is a thriller set against the backdrop of a swinging sixties London we haven’t seen: an East End world where far right fascism is on the rise.

Available for 9 months.

Watch here!

 

Robin Hood (39 episodes)

Based on the tales of legendary English folk hero Robin Hood, the mid-2000s drama sees Robin (Jonas Armstrong) square up to the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham with weekly swashbuckling adventures in the fight for good.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

SAS Rogue Heroes (6 episodes)

Set during darkest days of the Second World War, SAS Rogue Heroes is inspired by the origins of the world’s greatest Special Forces unit, the SAS.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

Sherlock (13 episodes)

Blunt, brilliant Sherlock teams up with war veteran Watson to solve impossible crimes with startling twists in Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman’s hit series.

Available for 1 week.

Watch here!

 

Small Axe (5 episodes)

Love letters to black resilience and triumph in London’s West Indian community, directed by Oscar winner Steve McQueen. Five feature-length vivid stories of hard-won victories in the face of racism.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

Taboo (8 episodes)

Dark, mesmerising drama with Tom Hardy, playing James Keziah Delaney who returns to London from Africa in 1814 and is encircled by conspiracy, murder and betrayal.

Available for 5 months.

Watch here!

 

The Trial of Christine Keeler (6 episodes)

Based on one of the most infamous British true life stories, The Trial of Christine Keeler explores the chain of events in the 1960s which became known as the Profumo affair.

Available for 6 months.

Watch here!

 

Versailles (30 episodes)

Flamboyant nobles, beautiful courtesans and scheming servants. The brutal, glorious reign of France’s Sun King – an intoxicating world of secrets, betrayals, love and war.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

Vienna Blood (9 episodes)

Set in 1900s Austria, this period crime drama is adapted from the best-selling Liebermann novels by Frank Tallis by Sherlock writer Steve Thompson.

Available for over a year.

Watch here!

 

Wolf Hall (6 episodes)

Historical drama chronicling the rise of Thomas Cromwell, the son of a humble blacksmith who became King Henry VIII’s chief minister, as he navigated the corridors of power in the Tudor court.

Available for 10 months.

Watch here!

 

Take a look at more new streaming recommendations here!