Looking for something to do this weekend? How about engaging in the latest trend in television viewing and binge watching a quality British TV show? There are tons available on the streaming services that will be so addicting you won’t be able to stop watching. Most of the shows listed below are available on Netflix and Amazon Instant as well as AcornTV. All require a subscription.
By far one of the biggest global hits to come out of the BBC in recent years, you can’t go wrong with spending the weekend with Sherlock and Watson played brilliantly by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
Call the Midwife
Mrs Anglotopia and I both love this show and it’s now available to stream. Set in 1950’s East London is deals with a group of mid-wives and nuns who bring new life into the world in various challenging scenarios. It’s very compelling drama.
This is by far one of my favorite British TV shows of all time and I heartily recommend it to anyone who wants to watch from great British mystery telly. Set in the seaside town of Hastings during World War II, Christopher Foyle is a brilliant detective who has to deal with the various crimes that take place even during wartime.
The IT Crowd
I’m a bit of a computer nerd so I love The IT Crowd, a situation comedy set in the basement IT department of an anonymous British corporation. As the show goes on, it become more about the characters than computers and it’s just plain hilarious. The show has finished its run now and with episodes only about 20 minutes long, you can easily breeze through the whole series in a weekend.
This is a British comedy classic! Fawklty Towers is set in a fictional hotel in Devon and features the one person in Britain who has no business running a hotel – Basil Fawlty. The joke is that running a hotel would be a great business if it wasn’t for the guests. The situations are hilarious – the comedic timing is perfect. It’s a classic. Don’t miss the episode with the Germans.
The Bletchley Circle
A newer show currently in its second series in Britain. The Bletchley Circle is a television mystery drama miniseries, set in 1952, about four women who used to work as codebreakers at Bletchley Park. A series of murders takes place that seem to have a pattern. The police apparently overlook the pattern, so the women start investigating it themselves.
The Forsyte Saga
This is another one of our all time favorites. It’s a story that became a benchmark for appointment television in the 1960s returns in a lavish new production with an all-star cast. Damian Lewis (Band of Brothers) stars as Soames Forsyte, a successful London solicitor and wealthy scion of a respectable upper-middle-class Victorian family. Soames marries the beautiful Irene–all he needs to complete his golden existence–but finds that he can never truly possess her. Based on the first two of John Galsworthy’s nine books about the Forysytes, this sweeping drama follows the family through two tumultuous decades that reflect the pivotal times in which they live.
This is a great crime series that takes place in northern England. The central character is Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Vera Stanhope of the fictional Northumberland & City Police who is obsessive about her work and driven by her own demons. If she’s lonely she doesn’t show it and faces the world with caustic wit, guile and courage, often with highly strung bad temper. Her trusted and long-suffering colleague is Detective Sergeant (DS) Joe Ashworth (David Leon), her right-hand man and surrogate son.
House of Cards (the Original)
The media has been going nuts with the buzz about House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey but did you know that it’s based on a brilliant UK show of the same name? It’s a sprawling tale of dirty politics and ambition. It’s quite good! Also give you an interesting look at British politics and how they work (and don’t!).
You haven’t seen Doc Martin yet? Have you gone bodmin? Doc Martin is another show that’s become a global hit. Set in the Cornish seaside town of Portwenn, the show follows the misadventures of Doctor Martin Ellingham as he treats the patients in a town. The catch is that he hates dogs and people in equal measure. He also has an on/off relationship with local teacher Louisa. It’s delightfully charming and once you start watching it, you won’t be able to stop! What’s your favorite British TV show that’s perfect to binge watch in a weekend? Let us know in the comments!
You haven’t included the SUPERB “Whitechapel”, “Ripper Street” and “Silk”.
I personally wouldn’t recommend Vera. Boring an watching paint dry 😉
Marilyn Crosbie says
I like Vera. Could be because I like the actor, Brenda Blethyn.
Gerianne Bruce says
I agree, the acting is superb and the stories are intriguing! No explosions, monsters or nonsense! Brenda Blethyn is wonderful, and the scenery compelling!
I agree the acting superb and the story line is just right.having work in a police Department the naturers of the actors are so true. I hope there are more story lines.
Diane Clement says
I am also a fan of Vera. The only one of these I have not seen is The IT Crowd. Since Kathryn Parkinson is in it, I am going to check Acorn tonight to see if it is available. She was the second receptionist on Doc Martin and she has a great sense of comic timing. I saw her in a play in London in March, 2012.
Judith Roseta says
Parkinson is glorious in the IT Crowd. One of my favorite shows ever. (Although, honestly, did not care for either one of the big bosses. Thankfully they don’t take up too much screen time.)
If we talk about leaving out, how about Mr. Bean? I love as time goes by. Doctor who! Orphan Black.
It was a short series but I also loved “A Young Doctor’s Notebook” with Hamm and Radcliffe.
Don Blackburn says
I think Orphan Black is Canadian
I enjoy to binge watch Poirot, Spooks (MI5) & Robin Hood. Also I LOVE all of the above!
“The Vicar of Dibley”, “Black Books”, “MacCallum”, “Cold Feet”, “Coupling”, “Hamish MacBeth”, “Monarch of the Glen”….to name but a few 🙂
John O'Connell (@jdpoc) says
Yes! Black Books 🙂
Black Books is one of my favorites!!!!
Jackie Jax Cobb says
I love the Vicar
I am really surprised Coupling was not on the list. Black Books as well.
Susan Keeping says
Are they all available for screening online? And beside, this is a list of 10.
Jane Abernathy Hahn says
The Vicar of Dibley, Monarch of the Glen, & Black Adder are all fabulous!
Miranda, Mulberry, As Time Goes By, to name a few
Carol in California says
Yes! As Time Goes By, most definitely!
Jan Pielke says
Yes – Definitely As Time Goes By. Absolutely excellent show – excellent, writing, acting, directing. Judi Dench, Geoffrey Palmer, Moira Brooker, Philip Bretherton, Jenny Funnel – great acting.
Anthony Adams says
Gavin and Stacey!!! Great binge-watch candidate!
Gavin & Stacey, The Inbetweeners, Scott & Bailey, Stella.
And you’ve missed out Doctor Who!
Paul James Donnelly says
Agreed (and I’m British.. Scouser to be specific) Massive Whovian; even have a Doctor Who Tattoo.
John O'Connell (@jdpoc) says
BBC’s ‘Hustle’ was groundbreaking…
pam booker says
Yes a brilliantly satisfying drama. Satisfying in that the baddies were expertly conned. Pity it finished.
Occupy Christianity (@occupy_xnty) says
“Are You Being Served?”, “Hetty Wainthropp Investigates”, “Jonathan Creek”, “Kavanagh QC”…the list is endless!
Marilyn Crosbie says
Kavanagh QC and Morse and Lewis Heartbeat and many more.
Jan Pielke says
Oh yes – Can’t get enough of Kavanagh QC and Morse. Can’t watch the last episode of Morse – too teary. Lewis is wonderful, as is Endeavour.
So very happy to see someone put in for Are You Being Served. I would just laugh like a fool with that show. I also like Jekyll, even though its only 6 episodes long. And what about Luther!?!?!
Keeping Up Appearances, and everything else mentioned in the story and comments above.
Have to add inspector Frost and Cracker for northern cops with issues!
Oh lord, “Vicar”—I watch it SO many times over the course of the year! I’d second Doc Martin and Call the Midwife as well.
Kari Olson says
The Thin Blue Line and Blackadder – both starring Rowan Atkinson. Not to mention, Mr. Bean. Keeping Up Appearances, As Time Goes By, Monty Python’s Flying Circus. LOVE The IT Crowd!
Also, Whites and Weekend Aristocrats (both available on Hulu)
Hetty Wainthroop Investigates is another wonderful mystery series staring Patricia Routledge. Also Only Fools and Horses and Dad’s Army for comedy.
Love the “IT Crowd”!! Also, “Gavin & Stacey”, “Keeping Up Appearances”, “Absolutely Fabulous”, “The Young Ones”, and mostly, “Downton Abbey”!
I would also add The Hour and Ripper Street!
Judith Roseta says
The Hour was wonderful!
Yes! Loved The Hour! Was so disappointed that there were only two seasons!
Lynne Hoovef says
I’ve been making my way through Midsomer Murders, loving that one! Ripper Street is also amazing, and Monarch of the Glen is good for a Scottish laugh. 🙂
And how could I forget? The original Upstairs Downstairs.
Endeavour, Ripper Street, Vicar of Dibley and George Gently are pretty awesome!
excuse me,but can we add to this list my lovely Midsomer Murders 🙂
And where is “The Thick of Ii”?!…
How ’bout Keeping Up Appearances, Are You Being Served & Top Gear?
“BlackAdder.” All of them. All the time. Very often.
Judith Roseta says
Have seen and loved all your recommendations except for Doc Martin. will put on my queue. The update of Upstairs Downstairs was great. Also liked the Grand Hotel. IT Crowd worth many repeat viewings!
Christian Kuhna (@elgreco66) says
I have to add “Waking the Dead”, “Spooks”, “Prime Suspect” and “Luther”
Midsommer Murders Poirot, George Gently – ALL AWESOME!
Robin Hood is my all time favorite
How about Rev, To The Manor Born, The Thick of It, The Good Life, Black Books, The Duchess of Duke Street, The Fall, Wallander, Rosemary and Thyme! All personal favorites I watch in a sort of endless rotation.
DJ Particle says
“Dead Set” – what happens when the cast and crew of Big Brother have to fight the zombie apocalypse?
As Time Goes By, Midsomer Murders, and Coronation Street
The Professionals! Love me some Bodie & Doyle!! And Are You Being Served but that would be a heck of a binge. Might have to make it a full week.
Doctor Who, Luther, Broadchurch? I love most British shows, their photography is incredible!
I recommend Twenty Twelve and now it’s sort of sequel is on BBC 2 W1A, set in broadcasting house (W1A is first part of the postcode). Hugh Bonneville of Downton is in both.
Gavin & Stacey!
Judy R says
Don’t forget the wonderful Miss Marple, Midsomer Murders, Inspector Lewis, Being Human & Primeval.
Jane F says
Poldark. An oldie but I still love it.
Michael Edens says
Some of my favorites: “A Touch of Frost,” “George Gently,” the whole “Endeavour”/”Inspector Morse”/”Lewis” saga, and “Wire in the Blood.”
Deirdre Sullivan says
great selection & how about Scott and Bailey
Jo DeLapo says
The first two seasons of Death In Paradise with the marvelous Ben Miller
No “Absolutely Fabulous”??
Susan Keeping says
Is it available to watch online?
As Time Goes By, Are You Being Served?, Keeping Up Appearances, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates and Father Brown.
Sally Roof says
“The Duchess of Duke Street”, another oldie and “The House of Elliot”.
Midsomer Murders, Inspector Lewis and Derek by Ricky Gervais
Linda Williams says
Definitely Scott and Bailey is our recent favourite British series.
Gerianne Bruce says
Just started watching this. I really enjoy the whole concept of powerful woman who also retain their femininity. Actually I can’t think of one of the aforementioned shows that I would not watch!
‘Allo ‘Allo, Yes, Minister, Yes, Prime Minister, No Job for a Lady, May to December plus those mentioned.
From the creators of the Cornetto Trilogy comes…
It is a really good TV show to binge watch and I wholeheartedly recommend it if you want to go back to the 90’s and early 00’s. Even if you haven’t heard of Simon Pegg, I would still recommend it.
One Foot In The Grave!!!!
Marilyn Crosbie says
I love it! Another oldie but rare one is Only When I Laugh about three hypochondriacs in the hospital.
Denise Laird (@denisel321) says
I’d add Keeping Up Appearances and Scott & Bailey
Also loved Cold Feet! BUT can’t find seasons 4-6?????
Rumpole of the Bailey
mike mcbride says
I was waiting for someone to mention Rumpole. Love it but truly, there’s something about the coloring that hasn’t aged well.
Scottish Lass says
Midsomer Murders and Coupling
Deborah C Jones says
Whatever happened to Drop the Dead Donkey?
janice l Smith says
Scott and Bailey. Great drama!!
Pie in the Sky on Acorn TV. Loved it!
Pie in the Sky is a wonderful series! I really enjoyed it.
Jennifer M says
Hello?! Absolutely Fabulous!
Monarch of the Glen, Ballykissangel, Doctor Who, Coupling, and Vicar of Dibley!!
John H says
How about ‘Are You Being Served’, ‘Inspector Morse’ (original and retread) ‘AbFab’ and, finally, ‘The Flying Circus’?
Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes and The Avengers plus classic Doctor Who
John C. Begley says
any show with Judy Dench.
Connie c says
Waiting for God, Last of the summer wine, Are you being served? Vicor of Dibley
Lourdes brites says
Hey, what about DOCTOR WHO??? :O
Quatermass and the Pit, Public Eye, Callan, The Prisoner, Gangsters, The Singing Detective, Traffik, GBH, The Smell of Reeves an Mortimer, Brass Eye
Nicole Pink says
I rather enjoyed Peep Show along with all the other comedies mentioned here. Shameless is good up until a certain point and did no one mention Open All Hours? N-n-n-nurse Gladys Emanuel!
Peep show! yusss! ?
Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister and Black Books!!!!!!
Only fools and Horses and Doctor Who are not included ! Honestly, I think these two are more legendary than any other !
I, Claudius for another old one with a fantastic cast. I would also recommend the original Poldark, mentioned above.
No one mentioned My Hero or The Inspector Lynley Mysteries… so I did!
I just binge-watched “Luther” this weekend; it was fantastic! Right on the money with Sherlock, Call the Midwife, Bletchly Circle. I am so sad that Ripper Street will not be coming back because that was very good 🙁 Broadchurch & The Fall were also fantastic; check them out if you get the chance! (And of course Doctor Who & Downton!)
RIPPER STREET S3 is coming 2 BBC! https://rattilia.wordpress.com
Linda Lohse-Lange says
Long ago 1990’s: Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook game show (people turned in their spouse, co-worker, or friend); Chef (comedy); and Ground Force with Alan Titchmarsh.
“A FAMILY AT WAR” IS MY FAVORITE OF ALL BRIT TV SHOWS, THEN: “UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS”, “THE DUCHESS OF DUKE STREET”, “INSPECTOR MORSE”, “MIDSUMMER MURDERS”, “TO SERVE THEM ALL MY DAYS”, “INSPECTOR DALGLEISH” , “CALL THE MIDWIFE” & “DOWNTON ABBEY” .
Eric Berry says
Lovejoy, The Office, Jonathan Creek, White Van Man
Judith Roseta says
Foyle’s War, The Paradise, Mr. Selfridge, Doc Martin (so good!), The Hour, The Tudors.
So many great shows, so little time!
jeff fletcher says
No mention of Dalziel and Pascoe- a wonderful adaptation of Reginald Hill’s brilliant books. And Jeremy Brett as “classic” Sherlock Holmes plays the character to a T as per the original stories. Absobloodylootley brilliant! The Prisoner with Patrick McGoohan as well as his Danger Man (called Secret Agent Man in America- with the Johnny Rivers song). Finally the best, most erudite comedy ever- Blackadder. Simply hilarious, with Rowan Atkinson and Hugh Laurie (long before House) and the iconic Stephen Fry and Tony Robinson. Nothing better.
Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Tv perfection.
Teri McGann says
I would also suggest: Last Tango in Halifax, George Gently (mystery),Endeavor (Morse as a young detective) and Black Books (comedy) to name a few. I love all the ones listed above, especially Vera!
Happy Valley, Utopia, Last Tango in Halifax, . Downton Abbey, Scott and Bailey, The Great British Bake Off
Just found Happy Valley today and am on Episode 5, very good. Did “Halifax” a few weeks ago. If there were as many murders in England as there are in movies, TV and books, it would rival Chicago.
Robert B T says
Where is Doctor Who , MI-5 ( the best show ever made )
, Are You Being Served , The Black Adder, and what list does not have Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Ros Mayes says
I love British shows!! Some favourites are Last of the Summer Wine ( whimsical, gentle British humour and beautiful scenery), Foyle’s War, The Vicar of Dibley, Doc Martin, Downton Abbey, QI, My Family, and those travelling shows..3 Men in a Boat series and the Industrial Revelations.., lots more!!
Downton Abbey!!! Amazing production. Each episode is a whole movie.
And The Hour, fantastic BBC show.
How not to live your life- the best comedy sitcom I have seen in a long time
Karin Peterson says
I loved ‘Allo, ‘Allo and I’m german. :-). Also got hooked on all afore mentioned plus Primeval and Murder in Paradise.
Primeval is absolutely my guilty pleasure. The production was pretty bad, the acting iffy, the stories oversimplified, the situations hamfisted, but it had such HEART! It walked the line between serious and campy so very well.
Have just re-watched House of Cards. Absolutely brilliant. For comedy we just got Vicious starring Derek Jacobi. Uproariously funny, and it takes a lot for me to laugh out loud at a TV show. ! Agree with OPs about Black Adder, but I didn’t care for Rowan Atkinson’s “Mr Bean”
Barbara Wecker says
We love “A Touch of Frost,” “Midsummer Murders,” “Inspector Lewis,” “Doc Martin,” and “Miss Fischer Mysteries”.
marc bridgham says
All the above. I have to add one I did not see mentioned. Lark Rise to Candleford. One of the best series ever. Small country Village life at the time of the big transition into the 20th century. Includes the great Brendan Doyle of Bates fame. Also Father Brown. let me throw in non British mysteries that feel like British mysteries because we watch them on Acorn TV. Miss Fischer Mysteries, set in Sydney.And Murdoch Mysteries set in Toronto.
Micaela Morris says
Sorry, Miss Fisher’s Mysteries is set in Melboune, Australia…and it’s fabulous!
Agree, agree, agree. One I have loved and rewatched and don’t see listed is Kingdom (stars Stephen Fry). Charming.
Oh, thanks for the raccomandations! Watching from abroad, don’t forget Dr Who and Life on Mars!
Lise Delville says
What about Doctor Who??
To the Manor Born – Penelope Keith at her absolute best!
Also the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries – the ones featuring Edward Petherbridge and Harriet Walter. (I didn’t much care for the ones with Ian Carmichael, I don’t think Carmichael was all that good as Wimsey,)
So many good ones mentioned! I loved Cold Feet, and another that is on Acorn that I really loved is Slings and Arrows, especially if you love theatre, but also very character driven.
Daniel Alves says
My favs are: BBC’s Sherlock, Downton Abbey, The Vicar of Dibley, Doc Martin and Keeping Up Appearances
Great list! One of my absolute favorites is “Lark Rise to Candleford”
Rick Jackson says
New Tricks, Goodnight sweetheart and the Bill
Robyn Plantz says
I just recently found Rosemary & Thyme. I’m half way through all that Netflix has on them.
I´d have included The Spooks, Southcliffe, Whitechapel and Downton Abbey. Cheers…
I completed watching “Duchess of Duke Street” several weeks ago and I really enjoyed it on Youtube.com
Love Doc Martin!
Call me lowbrow, but I like That Mitchell and Webb Look. Angel Summoner and The BMX Bandit! Sir Digby Chicken Caesar! Both superheros for modern times.
I love it too – the Sir Digby theme music (that plays while he is running) is the ringtone on my phone 🙂
I have to add Derek, maybe not as popular as some of the others, but still a wonderful show!
I’m borderline obsessed with Scott and Bailey right now! Great characters and storylines,also lots of action,suspense and twists!
No “Keeping Up Appearances”? One of the funniest shows ever.
We love “Doc Martin” at our house.
I think “Fawlty Towers” is probably as much of a cult favo(u)rite over here as it is over there. John Cleese has been huge in America for decades. Most Americans of a certain age spent their adolescence devouring “Monty Python.”
And the wonderful medieval mystery series “Cadfael”.
Trudie Ellsworth says
Good Neighbors and Butterflies were the original 2 series that got me hooked on British TV
Lori Stiner says
A bit old hat, but “Good Neighbors” was fun. Also Red Dwarf and Blake’s Seven. Does anyone know if “Solo” with Felicity Kendall was ever released on dvd?
Judy Fuller says
Let’s be honest, just about everything that comes out of England is brilliant, but my absolute faves are Lewis, Midsommer Murders, Agatha Christies Marple, Poirot, Doc Martin (when are they going to make series 7), Rosemary and Thyme. I could go on all day.
Debby Phielix says
I would go for other series like Hi Di Hi, Keeping Up Appearances, Are You Being Served, Dr Beeching, Inspector Lynley, Midsomer Murders and A Touch Of Frost. Bleak House is another one I can watch forever.
Judi K says
“Spaced” with Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson is one of the most quoted shows in my home. We even found the “Spaced” house on our last trip to London.
Sheila Gage says
Agree with your choices (except Fawlty Towers) but would add Midsomer Murders and Doctor Who to the very top of the list! And would also include Coupling.
Lorrie Greenway McCullers says
“Last Tango in Halifax”, “Murder in Paradise”, and “Primeval” are among our favorites.
Bonnie Gilbert says
I love to watch Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple with Joan Hickson, inspectors Morse and Lewis, and Endeavour, Lord Peter Wimsey, and I used to like to watch Changing Rooms and Ground Force.
Love all of the above, but am still waiting for the release of “Tenko” and “mother love” with Diana Rigg both of which I saw years ago and really enjoyed. Also, remember Danger UXB and, for something completely different, “‘allo ‘allo”!
Waiting For God with Stephanie Cole. My favorite character is of course Diana, played by Stephanie, and “the idiot Baynes”
My wife and I are Americans wishing we lived in the UK. We
…love the pace of Brit mysteries, like Vera, Foyles War, and Midsomer Murders. Intricate but subdued. Contrasted with the bombastic overdramatic dramas in the states, Brit dramas are far better.
I just got my husband hooked on DCI Banks. He’s not quite a Whovian yet, but I’m working on it.
British baking show, Gavin & Stacy, Luther (Idris Alba) yummy, AbFab
I love As Time Goes By.
You left out George Gently…..fabulous detective series featuring the marvellous Martin Shaw!
Angela Franks says
What about “Good Neighbors” “Birds of a Feather” and “Darling Buds of May”
I am glad to see that someone mentioned Poldark, the original. That was a great adaptation. Also, love Mulberry and To the Manor Born as comedies. There are so many great ones!
Old, old timer never included in any line up that I have seen-Doctor in the House-the TV series, not the movie series.
I love Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock, have seen all of the episodes MANY times, but I also loved Jeremy Brett in “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” Here’s to “Doctor Who” (Matt Smith is “my” Doctor, but I also love David Tennant), “Broadchurch,” and “To the Manor Born.” Always happy to watch “Poirot” and “Miss Marple”, but how is it no one has mentioned “Downton Abbey?”
Many have already mentioned Gavin & Stacey and Black Books but I also I love Father Ted.
Dad’s Army, The Good Life, To the Manor Born, any Miss Marple, a trip to Midsomer.
Dr. M. Candace Collard says
How about Father Brown and Masterpiece, Endeavour?
We JUST returned from a family vacation in London and had a wonderful time. My kids loved the variety of game show type television, especially Taskmaster, Duck Quacks Don’t Echo, 8 out of 10 Cats, and Pointless Celebrities Edition. Any suggestion on where we can watch these shows back home in the states? BBC America doesn’t show them. Found a few snippets of Taskmaster on YouTube but for whole episodes it says you need UKPlay, which we can’t get here either. Any ideas? Thanks!
I can’t believe Peep Show only has one mention in the comments so far – one of my favorite comedies EVER. It is infinitely re-watchable, we’ve probably watched all the episodes a dozen times… That Mitchell and Webb Look is also great. Another one I don’t think has been mentioned is The Catherine Tate Show – love her!!! Doctor Who, Absolutely Fabulous, Doc Martin, and Red Dwarf are also on heavy rotation in our house… A couple other shows I watched on streaming recently and enjoyed were Fresh Meat and Him & Her, not so re-watchable I don’t think, but worth checking out.
❤️ Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
Maria Adams says
Last of the Summer Wine !!!!!!!!!! PLEASE SHOW THIS ONE…
Midsomer Murders is my all time favorite TV series!