25 Best British Shows On Netflix, Ranked

Introduction

Welcome to our guide on the best British TV shows currently available for streaming. British television has a rich history of producing captivating and iconic series that cater to a wide range of tastes. Whether you’re a fan of historical dramas, crime thrillers, or quirky comedies, there’s something for everyone on this list. In this article, we’ll take you through some of the most beloved British TV shows, including classics like Peaky Blinders and The Crown, as well as newer gems like Fleabag and Black Mirror. So, grab your remote and get ready to dive into the world of British television!

1. Peaky Blinders

The Best British Shows on Netflix Right Now - IGN

Peaky Blinders is a gritty British crime drama series set in the aftermath of World War I. Created by Steven Knight and starring Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby, the show follows the Shelby crime family’s rise to power in the streets of Birmingham, England.

This critically acclaimed series is known for its compelling characters, stylish cinematography, and a gripping narrative filled with intrigue and tension. Here are some key reasons why Peaky Blinders should be on your watchlist:

  • Compelling Characters: The characters in Peaky Blinders are multi-dimensional and complex. Thomas Shelby, the enigmatic leader of the Peaky Blinders gang, is a standout character with his intelligence and ruthlessness.
  • Historical Setting: The show offers a captivating glimpse into the post-World War I era, with a focus on the economic struggles, political turmoil, and social changes of the time.
  • Stunning Visuals: The series is known for its stunning cinematography and visually striking scenes, capturing the atmosphere of 1920s Birmingham with a dark and moody aesthetic.
  • Strong Supporting Cast: Peaky Blinders boasts an impressive ensemble cast, including Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson, and Tom Hardy, who deliver outstanding performances throughout the series.

If you enjoy crime dramas filled with intricate plots, strong character development, and a touch of historical authenticity, Peaky Blinders is a must-watch. The show has garnered a dedicated fanbase and critical acclaim for its storytelling and production values.

Peaky Blinders Details
Genre: Crime Drama
Number of Seasons: 6
IMDb Rating: 8.8/10
Available on: Netflix

Peaky Blinders offers a gripping and immersive viewing experience that will keep you hooked from the very first episode. So, grab your flat cap and immerse yourself in the world of Tommy Shelby and his gang as they navigate the treacherous underworld of post-war Birmingham.

2. The Crown

The Crown is a renowned British historical drama series that offers a fascinating look into the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Created by Peter Morgan, the show has received widespread acclaim for its meticulous attention to historical accuracy and its stellar cast.

The Crown stands out for several compelling reasons:

  • Royal Saga: The series traces the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her early years as a young princess to her enduring reign. It delves into the personal and political challenges she faces as the leader of the British monarchy.
  • Outstanding Cast: The Crown features an ensemble of talented actors, with Olivia Colman, Claire Foy, and Helen Mirren taking on the role of Queen Elizabeth II in different seasons. Each actor brings a unique perspective to the character.
  • Historical Authenticity: The show is lauded for its meticulous attention to detail in depicting historical events, fashion, and settings. It offers a captivating insight into the inner workings of the British royal family.
  • Intriguing Characters: Beyond the Queen, The Crown introduces viewers to an array of historical figures, including Prince Philip, Princess Margaret, Winston Churchill, and more, adding depth and complexity to the narrative.

If you have an interest in British history, the monarchy, or simply enjoy engaging storytelling, The Crown is a must-watch series. It combines a gripping narrative with exceptional production values to create an immersive experience.

The Crown Details
Genre: Historical Drama
Number of Seasons: 5 (with more in development)
IMDb Rating: 8.6/10
Available on: Netflix

The Crown offers a captivating journey through the history and complexities of the British monarchy. It’s a series that both history enthusiasts and drama lovers can appreciate, making it a standout choice for your streaming queue.

3. Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey is a beloved British historical drama series created by Julian Fellowes. Set in the early 20th century, it offers a captivating glimpse into the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their loyal servants at the fictional Downton Abbey estate.

This series has garnered immense popularity for several compelling reasons:

  • Period Elegance: Downton Abbey is renowned for its meticulous attention to period detail. The exquisite costumes, opulent sets, and historical accuracy transport viewers to the post-Edwardian era.
  • Rich Character Development: The show boasts a diverse and well-developed cast of characters, each with their own unique storylines and struggles. From the dignified Lord and Lady Grantham to the witty Dowager Countess, these characters are at the heart of the series.
  • Upstairs-Downstairs Drama: The series explores the contrast between the privileged lives of the Crawley family and the challenges faced by their dedicated servants. This dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative.
  • Social and Historical Themes: Downton Abbey delves into various social and historical issues of the time, including class divisions, the impact of World War I, and the changing roles of women in society.

If you enjoy historical dramas with a mix of romance, intrigue, and a dash of British etiquette, Downton Abbey is a must-watch. It beautifully captures the essence of a bygone era while delivering engaging storytelling.

Downton Abbey Details
Genre: Historical Drama
Number of Seasons: 6
IMDb Rating: 8.7/10
Available on: Various streaming platforms

Downton Abbey offers a captivating journey through the lives of the Crawley family and their dedicated staff. It’s a series that combines historical authenticity with engaging storytelling, making it a timeless classic in British television.

4. Sherlock

Sherlock is a modern adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic detective stories, featuring the brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, and his trusty companion, Dr. John Watson, played by Martin Freeman. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, this British series has gained widespread acclaim for its clever writing and stellar performances.

Here’s why Sherlock is a must-watch:

  • Modern Reimagining: The series brings the classic tales of Sherlock Holmes into the 21st century, with updated technology and settings. It cleverly incorporates smartphones and the internet into the detective’s toolkit.
  • Outstanding Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes is nothing short of extraordinary. His brilliant mind and eccentric personality are brought to life with precision. Martin Freeman’s Dr. Watson provides the perfect counterbalance with his warmth and relatability.
  • Complex Mysteries: Each episode of Sherlock presents viewers with a challenging and intricately woven mystery that demands the audience’s attention. The series encourages viewers to put on their detective hats and try to solve the cases alongside Holmes and Watson.
  • Character Dynamics: The dynamic between Holmes and Watson is a central focus of the series. Their friendship, complete with banter and disagreements, adds depth and humor to the show.

Whether you’re a fan of the original Sherlock Holmes stories or simply enjoy well-crafted mysteries with a contemporary twist, Sherlock delivers on all fronts.

Sherlock Details
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Drama
Number of Seasons: 4
IMDb Rating: 9.1/10
Available on: Various streaming platforms

Sherlock is a brilliant modern take on a classic character, offering captivating mysteries and outstanding performances. It’s a series that will keep you engaged and eager to solve each case alongside the enigmatic Sherlock Holmes.

5. Fleabag

Fleabag is a remarkable British comedy-drama series created by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The show revolves around the life and struggles of a witty and unconventional woman living in London, often referred to simply as “Fleabag.” It has gained immense popularity for its sharp humor, unique storytelling, and Waller-Bridge’s exceptional performance.

Here’s why Fleabag is a standout series:

  • Brilliant Writing: Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s writing is a tour de force in itself. Her ability to blend humor and raw emotion is unparalleled, creating a narrative that is both hilarious and deeply poignant.
  • Complex Character: The central character, Fleabag, is a complex and relatable figure who navigates life’s ups and downs with wit and vulnerability. Her honesty and authenticity make her a compelling protagonist.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: A unique feature of the series is Fleabag’s habit of breaking the fourth wall, speaking directly to the audience. This adds an intimate and engaging dimension to the storytelling.
  • Exploration of Themes: Fleabag delves into a wide range of themes, including family dynamics, grief, love, and self-discovery. It tackles these topics with a refreshing and unfiltered perspective.

Whether you’re drawn to character-driven comedies, enjoy narratives that explore the complexities of human relationships, or simply appreciate brilliant writing and acting, Fleabag offers a compelling and unforgettable viewing experience.

Fleabag Details
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Number of Seasons: 2
IMDb Rating: 8.7/10
Available on: Amazon Prime Video

Fleabag is a gem in British television, offering a fresh and honest perspective on modern life, love, and loss. With its sharp humor and genuine emotion, it’s a series that resonates deeply with viewers.

6. Doctor Who

Doctor Who is a legendary British science fiction series that has been a beloved part of television history for decades. Created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, and Donald Wilson, this long-running show follows the adventures of the Doctor, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey who travels through time and space in the TARDIS, a time machine that looks like a British police box on the outside.

Here’s why Doctor Who continues to captivate audiences:

  • Time-Traveling Adventures: The show’s premise allows for an endless variety of settings and eras, from ancient historical periods to distant futuristic worlds. This diversity keeps the series fresh and exciting.
  • The Regeneration Concept: One of the unique aspects of Doctor Who is the Doctor’s ability to regenerate into a new form when mortally wounded. This concept has allowed different actors to take on the iconic role over the years, keeping the character dynamic and evolving.
  • Iconic Villains: The show has introduced some of the most memorable villains in science fiction, including the Daleks, Cybermen, and the Master. These adversaries have become an integral part of the Doctor Who lore.
  • Themes of Morality and Compassion: Throughout its run, the series explores themes of morality, compassion, and the consequences of one’s actions. The Doctor often finds non-violent solutions to conflicts, emphasizing the importance of empathy.

Whether you’re a science fiction enthusiast or simply enjoy imaginative storytelling with a touch of British quirkiness, Doctor Who is a must-watch. It has a dedicated fanbase that spans generations and has left an indelible mark on popular culture.

Doctor Who Details
Genre: Science Fiction
Number of Seasons: Over 30 seasons and counting
IMDb Rating: 8.6/10
Available on: Various streaming platforms

Doctor Who is a timeless classic that continues to inspire wonder and imagination. Its ability to reinvent itself while staying true to its core values is a testament to its enduring appeal in the world of television.

7. Black Mirror

Black Mirror is a thought-provoking and often chilling British anthology series created by Charlie Brooker. Each episode of this dystopian science fiction series is a standalone story, exploring the dark and often disturbing consequences of technology on modern society. It has gained a devoted following for its unsettling narratives and social commentary.

Here’s why Black Mirror stands out:

  • Technology-Centric Stories: The series delves into the impact of technology on our lives, presenting scenarios that range from cautionary tales to mind-bending speculative fiction. It forces viewers to contemplate the consequences of our ever-evolving relationship with technology.
  • Compelling Storytelling: Each episode of Black Mirror is a self-contained story, making it easy to jump into the series at any point. The writing is sharp, and the narratives often take unexpected and unsettling turns.
  • Exploration of Human Nature: The series explores themes such as human nature, morality, and the ethical dilemmas that arise in a technologically advanced world. It often leaves viewers with questions and moral quandaries to ponder.
  • Top-Notch Cast: Black Mirror features a talented ensemble cast in each episode, including actors like Bryce Dallas Howard, Jon Hamm, and Miley Cyrus. Their performances add depth and authenticity to the thought-provoking stories.

If you enjoy speculative fiction that challenges the way you think about the role of technology in society, Black Mirror is a must-watch. It’s a series that will leave you both entertained and introspective, making you question the impact of the digital age on our lives.

Black Mirror Details
Genre: Science Fiction, Anthology
Number of Seasons: 5 (with more possible in the future)
IMDb Rating: 8.8/10
Available on: Netflix

Black Mirror is a mind-bending series that challenges our perceptions of technology and its impact on society. It’s a thought-provoking journey into the near-future that will leave you questioning the world we live in.

8. Line of Duty

Line of Duty is a gripping British police procedural and crime drama series created by Jed Mercurio. The show follows the investigations of AC-12, a fictional anti-corruption unit in the police force, as they uncover and combat corruption and misconduct within their own ranks. With its intricate plotlines and intense character dynamics, the series has earned a dedicated fanbase and critical acclaim.

Here’s why Line of Duty is a standout in the crime drama genre:

  • Complex Characters: The series features well-developed characters on both sides of the law, creating a morally complex and engaging narrative. The line between right and wrong often blurs as the characters grapple with their own motivations and loyalties.
  • Intricate Plotlines: Line of Duty is known for its intricate and multi-layered plotlines, filled with unexpected twists and turns. Each season focuses on a different case, adding to the suspense and intrigue.
  • High-Stakes Drama: The series masterfully builds tension and suspense, creating a high-stakes atmosphere that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. The cat-and-mouse game between the investigators and the corrupt officers is riveting.
  • Social Commentary: Line of Duty delves into relevant social issues, including police corruption, accountability, and the ethical challenges faced by law enforcement. It prompts discussions about the integrity of those entrusted with upholding the law.

If you’re a fan of crime dramas that delve deep into the ethical and moral dilemmas faced by those in law enforcement, Line of Duty is a must-watch. Its intelligent storytelling and compelling characters make it a standout series in the genre.

Line of Duty Details
Genre: Police Procedural, Crime Drama
Number of Seasons: 6
IMDb Rating: 8.7/10
Available on: Various streaming platforms

Line of Duty is a series that will keep you guessing and questioning the moral choices of its characters. With its intense investigations and moral complexity, it’s a crime drama that is both thrilling and thought-provoking.

9. Luther

Luther is a gripping British crime drama series created by Neil Cross, known for its dark and intense storytelling. The series follows Detective Chief Inspector John Luther, portrayed by Idris Elba, as he investigates complex and often disturbing murder cases in London. Luther is known for its psychological depth and Elba’s powerful performance in the titular role.

Here’s why Luther has garnered critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase:

  • Compelling Lead: Idris Elba’s portrayal of John Luther is a standout. His character is both brilliant and tormented, and Elba’s commanding presence on screen adds depth and authenticity to the role.
  • Complex Cases: The series features intricate and chilling murder mysteries that challenge Luther’s investigative skills and push the boundaries of suspense. The cat-and-mouse game between Luther and the criminals keeps viewers hooked.
  • Moral Ambiguity: Luther delves into moral ambiguity and explores the psychological toll that the job takes on its lead character. Luther often bends or breaks the rules to achieve justice, prompting viewers to question the cost of doing what’s necessary.
  • Supporting Cast: The series also boasts a strong supporting cast, including Ruth Wilson as the enigmatic Alice Morgan and Warren Brown as Luther’s loyal colleague, DS Justin Ripley. These characters add depth to the narrative.

If you’re a fan of gritty crime dramas with complex characters and psychological depth, Luther is a must-watch. It’s a series that keeps you on the edge of your seat and explores the moral and emotional complexities of law enforcement.

Luther Details
Genre: Crime Drama, Psychological Thriller
Number of Seasons: 5
IMDb Rating: 8.5/10
Available on: Various streaming platforms

Luther is a dark and compelling crime drama that offers a deep dive into the mind of a brilliant yet troubled detective. With its intense storytelling and morally complex themes, it’s a series that will leave a lasting impression.

10. The Great British Bake Off

The Great British Bake Off, often referred to as Bake Off, is a delightful British reality baking competition television series created by Anna Beattie and Richard McKerrow. The show brings together amateur bakers from various backgrounds who compete in a series of challenges to impress a group of judges with their baking skills, creativity, and precision. Here’s why The Great British Bake Off has become a beloved staple of British television:

  • Heartwarming and Relatable: The show is celebrated for its warm and friendly atmosphere. Unlike many competitive reality shows, Bake Off emphasizes camaraderie and support among contestants, creating a wholesome and relatable viewing experience.
  • Creative Baking Challenges: Each episode presents contestants with a variety of baking challenges, from signature bakes to technical tasks and showstoppers. These challenges test a wide range of baking skills and techniques, leading to both triumphs and occasional disasters in the famous Bake Off tent.
  • Expert Judging Panel: The series features a knowledgeable and endearing judging panel, including Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, who provide constructive feedback and critiques. Hosts, such as Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig (and later Matt Lucas), add humor and charm to the show.
  • Delicious Creations: Viewers are treated to a visual feast of delectable bakes, from intricate pastries to elaborate cakes and bread. The creativity and dedication of the contestants are truly inspiring.

If you have a passion for baking, enjoy culinary challenges, or simply appreciate heartwarming and feel-good television, The Great British Bake Off is a delightful choice. It’s a series that has not only entertained but also inspired countless viewers to pick up their aprons and try their hand at baking.

The Great British Bake Off Details
Genre: Reality, Baking Competition
Number of Seasons: 12+ (with ongoing seasons)
IMDb Rating: 8.6/10
Available on: Various streaming platforms

The Great British Bake Off is more than just a baking competition; it’s a heartwarming celebration of talent, creativity, and the joy of sharing delicious treats. Whether you’re an aspiring baker or a casual viewer, this series is sure to leave you with a craving for something sweet and a warm feeling in your heart.

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about the best British TV shows to stream right now:

  1. Where can I watch these British TV shows?
    You can find these British TV shows on various streaming platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other region-specific services. Be sure to check your preferred platform for availability in your location.
  2. Are these TV shows suitable for all ages?
    The suitability of these TV shows varies. While some, like “The Great British Bake Off,” are family-friendly and suitable for all ages, others, such as “Black Mirror,” contain mature themes and may not be appropriate for younger viewers. It’s advisable to check the content rating and viewer discretion before watching.
  3. Do these TV shows have subtitles or closed captions?
    Yes, many of these TV shows offer subtitles or closed captions, allowing viewers to enjoy them with the added benefit of text for dialogue and narration. You can usually enable subtitles through your streaming platform’s settings.
  4. Are there more seasons or episodes planned for these TV shows?
    The availability of additional seasons or episodes for these TV shows can vary. Some shows, like “Doctor Who,” have a long history of ongoing seasons, while others may have concluded. It’s a good idea to check for updates from the creators or production companies regarding future releases.
  5. Which British TV show should I start with?
    The choice of where to start depends on your personal preferences. If you enjoy historical drama, “The Crown” and “Downton Abbey” are excellent choices. For science fiction enthusiasts, “Doctor Who” and “Black Mirror” offer engaging narratives. If you’re in the mood for crime dramas, “Line of Duty” and “Luther” are highly recommended. And if you’re looking for something light-hearted, “The Great British Bake Off” is a delightful option.

Feel free to explore these British TV shows based on your interests, and enjoy the diverse range of storytelling and genres they offer.

Conclusion

In conclusion, British television offers a rich and diverse array of entertainment, and the best British TV shows provide something for every viewer’s taste. Whether you’re drawn to historical drama, science fiction, crime thrillers, or heartwarming baking competitions, the British TV landscape has it all.

We’ve explored a selection of outstanding British TV shows, each with its own unique charm and appeal. From the regal world of “The Crown” to the thought-provoking dystopia of “Black Mirror,” and from the crime-solving brilliance of “Sherlock” to the delicious creations on “The Great British Bake Off,” there’s no shortage of captivating content to enjoy.

Whether you’re binge-watching on a lazy weekend or looking for a new series to add to your queue, these British TV shows are sure to provide hours of entertainment and thought-provoking storytelling. So, grab your remote, prepare some tea and biscuits, and immerse yourself in the world of British television.

Happy streaming!

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