10 Best BBC Period Dramas That'll Take You on an Unforgettable Ride

10 Best BBC Period Dramas That'll Take You on an Unforgettable Ride
Image credit: BBC

If you love period dramas, this list will take on the ultimate journey through the centuries alongside the British nobility — wars, politics, and schemes included.

866–878: The Last Kingdom (2015–2022)

Our journey throughout English and British history wouldn’t have been right if it didn’t start with the birth of England itself. The Last Kingdom follows the fight between Vikings and Anglo-Saxons: the former want to take over the Isles; the latter want to defend it; and one man who’s part of both cultures is destined to rule them.

You can watch The Last Kingdom on Netflix.

1532–1547: The Tudors (2007–2010)

Jumping over five centuries forward, we find ourselves in the company of Henry VIII, the legendary monarch primarily known for his unhealthy number of wives. The royal court is torn apart by political intrigues, and the country is torn by poverty. The nobility fights for power, the commoners fight for survival, and Henry VIII is above all.

You can watch The Tudors on Hulu and Prime Video.

1743–1775: Outlander ( 2014–Now)

With another two-century jump, we find ourselves in the era as alien to us as it is to the protagonist — a WWII nurse who finds herself traveling back in time. It's 1743 Scotland, the epicenter of the Jacobite rising, and she doesn’t belong there. But the dashing Highland warrior and his epic cause might just change her mind.

You can watch Outlander on Hulu, Netflix, Apple TV, and Prime Video.

1781–1801: Poldark (2015–2019)

The jumps are over: from Poldark and forth, we’ll be just steadily moving forward to our days. After the American War of Independence, a young captain returns home to find his former life in ruin. His father died, his sweetheart left him, and his estate is no more… But it’s all just a reason to start anew, and he doesn’t intend to give up just yet.

You can watch Outlander on Netflix, Apple TV, and Prime Video.

1795–1810: Pride and Prejudice (1995)

The world is changing, but not everyone is open-minded enough to feel it. As a young lady’s mother goes into a frenzy eager to marry her off to some wealthy gentleman, she cares little for her efforts. Opinionated and strong-willed, she’s willing to forge her own path — perhaps, with the charming man she’d only just met.

You can watch Pride and Prejudice on Hulu, Apple TV, and Prime Video.

1830–1850s: Victoria (2016)

Monarchs are typically trained for their role since early childhood, but ascending to the throne is always stressful nonetheless. Victoria, the new Queen of England, struggles with her royal duties, politics, and love affairs — especially since the things she must do and the things she desperately wants to do are never in agreement.

You can watch Victoria on Apple TV and Prime Video.

1912–1926: Downton Abbey ( 2010–2015)

Just before the Great War, an old and powerful earl loses his primary heir in the Titanic tragedy. Instead of leaving his estate and fortune to his daughter, he stubbornly seeks for another male heir — and finds him in a relative so distant not a single member of the family even knows him. That decision sets things off…

You can watch Downton Abbey on Netflix, Apple TV, and Prime Video.

1919–1933: Peaky Blinders ( 2013–2022)

Three working-class brothers return home after the Great War and decide they deserve better than poverty. Soon, the Peaky Blinders gang instills terror in its enemies all across England, and Tommy Shelby, the gang’s leader, is not stopping before anything to rise to the very top — or finally meet an opponent he can’t beat.

You can watch Peaky Blinders on Netflix.

1950–1960s: Call The Midwife (2012–Now)

World War II has ended, and life in England steadily becomes better again. In the second half of the 20th century, a group of midwives in East London goes about their lives. Love, family, professional duty, and everyday politics of the 1950s and 1960s through the eyes of simple women doing their best to live their best lives.

You can watch Call The Midwife on Netflix and Prime Video.

1947–2005: The Crown ( 2016–2023)

There’s only one correct way to finish our journey through British history: alongside the late Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in the country’s history. In The Crown, we join Queen Elizabeth II from her ascent to the throne and until the early 21st century, watching her political rivalries and romances throughout the many decades of her rule.

You can watch The Crown on Netflix.