Comforting British Dramas to Stream Right Now
If you’re in need of comfort, warmth, and escape from reality, there’s no better place to turn than period dramas from the country that brought the world “Keep Calm & Carry On.” Here are five British series from MASTERPIECE you can stream right now for a bingeable infusion of solace, fortitude, inspiration…and the obligatory sassy zinger! Watch them all with PBS Passport, an added member benefit. (Note: Full episode streaming is only available within the United States.)
The Durrells in Corfu | Four Seasons
There’s no better time than now to dig in to all four seasons of The Durrells in Corfu! It’s heartwarming by way of biting humor and flawed characters who, above all, love one another in the very best ways that they know how. It’s like if Schitt’s Creek time traveled to a Greek island between the wars!
Louisa Durrell (Keeley Hawes, Bodyguard) and her band of wayward kids (including Josh O’Connor of Emma and The Crown) abandon dreary Bournemouth for the unspoiled beaches and fauna of Corfu, where hijinks, romance, and hilarity ensue. It’s based on naturalist Gerald Durrell’s charm-infused autobiographical account of his family’s years in Corfu, My Family and Other Animals, and it doesn’t just offer the escapism of blue skies and azure seas—it also has puppies and accordions (and even better, making fun of accordions). Make a fresh start with the Durrells!
Downton Abbey | Six Seasons
Might we recommend a sleeper hit you may never have heard of? Just kidding, we know you’re practically an honorary Crawley yourself after all the Downton over the years. But if you always meant to watch Downton Abbey and haven’t yet, or you’ve been waiting for the chance to watch it all over again, now is the time!
The world of Downton Abbey might be on the crux of change, but the Crawleys and their below-the-stairs extended family of servants can weather all manner of challenges together, be they inheritance crises, war, blackmail, rivalries, gardening competitions, animal husbandry, or fashion. A palliative for anxiety, Downton Abbey lets us marinate in style, wit, warmth, and kindness, a world where any crisis can be weathered with a bon mot and directive from the Dowager Countess! With Julian Fellowes’ crackling writing and its stellar ensemble cast led by Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey delivers a phenomenon that is, at its heart, utterly human.
Grantchester | Four Seasons
If you like murder, mayhem, and not one but two hot priests of the crime-fighting persuasion, set in one of England’s most bucolic villages in the 1950s, you’re going to want to join the Grantchester congregation! In Grantchester, the picturesque village on the river Cam, the handsome, jazz-loving Reverend Sidney Chambers (James Norton) can’t help but fall into more worldly habits as he assists friend and actual detective Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Greene) in solving murders, all the while searching for justice, spiritual fulfillment, love, and a really hip jazz club. And when Sidney departs, a new vicar, Will Davenport (Tom Brittney), arrives…leather-clad, on a motorcycle! Turns out Geordie dislikes rock n’ roll even more than he dislikes jazz. But will he find a new partner in solving crime—and a new friend—in Will?
Enjoy countless murders, several love affairs, a couple of crises of faith, more than one scandal in the vestry, many acts of bravery, innumerable demonstrations of true friendship, two hot priests, and one perfect dog. Hallelujah!
Victoria | Three Seasons
Are you ready for an addictive drama and a passionate, extra, teenager with “veins of steel” on a path to ruling an empire? Get swept up in Victoria! In 1837, a diminutive, neglected young woman is crowned Queen Victoria, navigates the scandal, corruption, and political intrigues of the court, and soon rises to become the most powerful woman in the world. Victoria dramatizes the romance and reign of the passionate young monarch finding her voice, her power, and the love of her life as a woman, a wife, a mother, and the ruler of an empire. Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) as Victoria, Rufus Sewell (The Man in the High Castle) as Lord Melbourne, and Tom Hughes (Dancing on the Edge) as Prince Albert star.
Little Women | Three Episodes
If you like your comfort with a warm embrace of nostalgia, kindness, and the earnest desire of flawed people to be better—and if you have a box of tissues at the ready—Little Women is the show for you! Join sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March on their journey from childhood to adulthood while their father is away at war. Under the guidance of their mother, Marmee, the girls navigate what it means to be a young woman, from gender roles to sibling rivalry, first love, loss and marriage. Immerse yourself in Jo’s passion, Marmee’s sage, love-infused advice…and Amy’s awfulness!
Starring Maya Hawke (Stranger Things), Jonah Hauer-King (World on Fire), Emily Watson (The Theory of Everything, Hilary and Jackie) and Angela Lansbury (Murder, She Wrote, The Manchurian Candidate), as well as Willa Fitzgerald (Dare Me) and Kathryn Newton (Big Little Lies).
Poldark | Five Seasons
Get carried away when you transport yourself to 18th century Cornwall with Poldark! It’s a swashbuckling, classic tale—heartbroken boy meets girl, scythe meets grass, pride meets prejudice, viewer meets abs—in a beautiful wrapper, the dramatic Cornish cliffs and dazzling sea. A reboot of the 1970s series that saw its leading man mobbed, Beatles-style, by adoring fans, Poldark stars Aidan Turner as the smoldering, flawed hero, Captain Ross Poldark, who returns from war to find his life upended and his beloved about to marry his cousin.
Watch it for its romantic, rough-and-ready hero with nothing—and everything—to lose; the adventure; the scenery; the pompous, wig-bearing villains counting money and plotting hostile takeovers; and the addictive love triangle comprising Elizabeth, Poldark’s ravishing and refined childhood sweetheart; Demelza, the fiercely independent street urchin turned kitchen maid; and at the darkly passionate center of the triangle, Ross Poldark, torn between the two.
Listen to the Mining Poldark recap podcast, your behind-the-scenes pass to all five seasons of the beloved MASTERPIECE / BBC drama– unpack all the adventure and fearless exploits, episode by episode. With Robin Ellis, who played the original Ross Poldark in the 1970s adaptation of Winston Graham’s novels, and MASTERPIECE’s Barrett Brountas.