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15 Best British Shows on Netflix
From The Office to Shameless, there’s something about American remakes of British exports that U.S. audiences seem to find bloody brilliant. With the advent of streaming services like Netflix opening our TV selection beyond national cable programming, we now have a window peering directly into what’s cooking across the pond. Sometimes literally.
Why limit yourself to American favorites when the U.K. has so many one-of-a-kind series you’ve probably never heard of? Take a note from the Book of Fleabag: What’s posh in the U.K. today is posh in the U.S. tomorrow. (See: The Great British Baking Show, Sex Education, Peaky Blinders, etc.)
Do yourself a favor and give these British titles a gander. After all, it’s a fit night for a pint and the telly, innit, bruv? Okay, fine, we’ll stop. Here are the best British TV series on Netflix.
This hit dramedy follows the life of a sex therapist’s son who, upon approaching adolescence, realizes that his home environment of sexual literacy could translate to serious social currency at school. He teams up with his classmate, the resident rebel of his grade, to start a sex advice business for his classmates.
The Great British Baking Show
Deemed by many as one of the most peaceful watches on Netflix, The Great British Baking Show is Great Britain’s amateur baking competition show. Think Chopped or Cake Boss, but half the stakes and under a draped tent in the midst of rolling meadows.
A British period crime drama set in the aftermath of WWI, Peaky Blinders is centered on a family-run gang of the same name who at the time held great power in the city of Birmingham. In a phase of shifting powers and structures, the Peaky Blinders gang comes to the attention of the British government, sending a private investigator to thwart their growth.
Pre-Fleabag Phoebe Waller-Bridge writes and stars in this demented Friends-esque comedy-drama. Crashing follows the interwoven stories of six twenty-something roommates living in a reappropriated hospital building.
Based on its creator Peter Morgan’s play The Audience and film The Queen, The Crown follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her ascension to the throne in 1947 to her 21st century rule. The historical drama is as compelling as it is accurate, lending a unique lens on one especially influential woman’s life and legacy.
A classic coming of age sitcom, The Inbetweeners tells of the awkward, in-between days of four suburban teens navigating adolescence. Its candid protagonists are as loveable as they are abhorrent, as they clumsily bull-in-a-China-shop their way through school, sex, friendship, and maturity.
Broadchurch is a serial crime drama set in a fictional town of the same name in Dorset, England, just off the English Channel. The series follows the town’s local police detectives, with each season focusing upon a specific crime investigation.
Carey Mulligan stars as Kip Glaspie, a London-based detective inspector, in this four-part police procedural. Initially assigned to investigate the shooting of a pizza delivery man, Glaspie soon unravels a web of collateral characters.
A contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous Sherlock Holmes detective series, Sherlock revisits the age-old duo of Holmes, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, and Dr. John Watson, played by Martin Freeman, in modern-day England. Watson, having returned home from serving in Afghanistan, becomes flatmates with Holmes in London and begins assisting him in his investigations. Oh, and did we mention Watson has a blog this time around?
In this drama, a war veteran is assigned to protect the Home Secretary, an ambitious politician whose platform directly conflicts with the veteran’s own politics. As their relationship progresses, his moral dilemma grows increasingly complicated with his professional obligations to protect her.
Set in a public housing estate of East London, Top Boy tells the story of two young men running a drug-dealing business with hopes of becoming the local “Top Boy,” or the wealthiest man in the neighborhood. The drama series pivots betweens its high-stakes plotlines and the realism of its various residents’ honest daily struggles.
The End of the F***ing World
Based on Charles Forsman’s graphic novel of the same name, The End of the F***ing World follows an unlikely pair of teens: James, a self-proclaimed psychopath determined to kill his rebellious classmate, and Alyssa, his rebellious classmate. When Alyssa proposes they run away together on an outlandish adventure, James’s elaborate plans to kill her grow complicated as the two develop a unique bond.
Call the Midwife
Jenny, a newly qualified midwife in 1950s East London, ends up on an unexpected first assignment when she finds herself at a convent. Surrounded by intimidating nuns of varying personalities, Jenny navigates her new environment in stride as she develops a unique bond with her fellow nurses and patients.
This British sitcom is, ironically, set in Northern Ireland during the near-end of the Troubles in Derry. The hilariously irreverent yet poignant series follows a crew of teens, four girls and one boy, attending an all girls’ Catholic school, as they navigate adolescence amidst a national crisis.
The IT Crowd
Set in the fictional offices of Reynholm Industries, The IT Crowd follows the antics of three members of Reynholm’s IT team, along with glimpses into its various other departments. The IT Crowd must survive as a self-maintaining microcosm, as the three have been relegated to the company basement.
This British sitcom follows Dylan Witter, a quite literally lovesick young man, as he must retroactively contact all of his previous lovers to tell them of his recent chlamydia diagnosis. Within Dylan’s episodic flashbacks of lovers past, the series also explores his roommates and their personal lives in Glasgow, Scotland.