{Top Five} British Miniseries

EST. 1987 (6)

Is anyone else absolutely loving Poldark this summer? I’ve been completely swept away by how gorgeous and Romantic (with a capital R) it is.  Aidan Turner’s quite dashing as Ross Poldark, but Demelza and Verity have stolen the show for me. It’s been awhile since PBS aired such an amazing miniseries, and it’s officially gotten me in the mood to track down the Period Pieces I’ve missed over the last couple of years. High on the list are The White Queen, Jamaica Inn, and Ripper Street. (The list gets fairly long if I factor in movies as well as miniseries and TV shows, but I’m not complaining.)

It seems strange to me now that I haven’t written about Period Pieces much on this blog. It’s a bit of an obsession with me really–one that I’m rediscovering thanks to my mom and I binging on things like South Riding and The Paradise over the Spring.

During my blogging hiatus, I decided this “hidden” aspect of my geekiness was something I needed to blog about when I came back.  I figured what better way to introduce the topic than to write about my favorite British Miniseries of all time!

My “Top Five” admittedly are pretty A-list. I’ll have to do a round-up of some overlooked favorites another time–especially after I’ve crossed more items off my to-watch list.

{Top Five} British Miniseries


1. North and South ~ Set in a mill town, North and South is like Pride and Prejudice but with higher stakes and more death. That might not sound like a great pitch, but it’s very sweet and romantic. It also has Richard Armitage in a horribly swoon-worthy performance. The first time I watched it, my mom and I binged all four hours in one night. It was too good to stop!


2. Pride and Prejudice ~ The only downside of this production is that there’s too much Wickham in it. Of course, that only becomes clear after you’ve watched every single Pride and Prejudice adaptation available in the States during your Winter break.  This miniseries basically introduced me to the wonderful world of British Miniseries and it’s still one of my favorites.


3. Cranford ~ So sweet and sad! I love Cranford because it pulls off a hard-to-balance mix of depressing and hopeful. It’s not often you see elderly women as a focus of a show either, but Cranford proves that you don’t have to be young and hot to carry a story. It’s also surprisingly hilarious. The Cat/Lace scene is one of my favorites.


4. Bleak House ~ Every time I watch this, I get super worked up by how much I can’t stand John Jarndyce. But that’s good because Bleak House is the sort of miniseries you get super involved in–even after you’ve seen it a bunch of times. Bleak House is also a good illustration of how my mom and I like to choose weird quotes to incorporate into our daily life. See “Shake me up, Judy” and “Brimstone beast.”


5. The Way We Live Now ~ I don’t normally go for political satires, but The Way We Live Now is really gripping. It’s also funny–with great performances from Matthew McFadyen and Shirley Henderson. The main downside of the series is Miranda Otto’s awful American accent. Thankfully, she and her Texan drawl aren’t in it much.

Do you have any favorite miniseries? Or any must watch Period Pieces I must add to my list?

Image Sources: N & S, P & P, Cranford, Bleak House, TWWLN, and Poldark


10 thoughts on “{Top Five} British Miniseries

  1. I’ve also been entranced with Poldark! I have missed a few of the miniseries PBS has been airing, but there seemed to be such a buzz about Poldark in the UK, that I had to watch. Verity and Demelza are so fantastic! 🙂 I love that you highlighted your favorite period dramas for this post – I would love to do that some time. North and South and P&P of course need to be here! Bleak House I never watched though which I really should remedy! I would definitely say Jane Eyre should be on the list (cause it’s my favorite book! :D) – although my favorite version is one from 1973 and not the 2006 one.

    1. I love Jane Eyre too! If I’d been listing my Top 10, the 2006 version would probably have made #6 or #7. I don’t know that I’ve seen the 1973 version. I’ll have to check it out!

  2. I used to love that version of Pride and Prejudice, but I haven’t seen it in ten years. Maybe a re-watch is in order? My favorite British mini series (and favorite book) is Brideshead Revisited. It’s from ’81, and stars Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews, and is so so good. I will have to check out some of your recommendations here!

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