Bridgerton Burnout? Try these 15 British Historical Dramas Instead!

By Krystal Brown

Bridgerton may be all the rage, but there are plenty of other historical dramas out there that are just as captivating, if not more so. From epic period pieces to intimate character studies, these shows offer a rich and diverse look at the past. So if you’re looking for something new to binge-watch, be sure to check out these hidden gems.

Downton Abbey (2010-2015)

Image Credit: Carnival Films

This British period drama series follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early 20th century. It is known for its beautiful costumes, lavish sets, and complex characters.

Versailles (2015-2018)

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Set against the backdrop of the Palace of Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV, the television series “Versailles” chronicles the opulence, intrigue, and power dynamics of the French court. The young King’s decision to relocate the court to Versailles transforms the hunting lodge into a symbol of his authority, while the series delves into the complex relationships between the king, his courtiers, and his brother. With its lavish production values and compelling storytelling, “Versailles” offers a captivating glimpse into the grandeur and intrigue of 17th-century France.

Jamestown (2017-2019)

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Set in 1619, “Jamestown” unfolds the lives of three women who embark on a journey to the Virginia colony to marry settlers. Amid the pursuit of romance, the series reveals the harsh realities these women confront, including the political tensions inherent in colonization. As viewers immerse themselves in “Jamestown,” they witness a narrative rich in romance, battles, and betrayals, set against the backdrop of interactions with Native Americans, as well as the cultivation of tobacco fields.

Banished (2015)

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In the unforgiving Australian wilderness of 1788, “Banished” unveils the lives of British convicts banished to the penal colony of New South Wales. Accompanied by the soldiers tasked with maintaining order, these individuals are thrust into a world of survival, conflict, and the relentless pursuit of redemption. Amidst this harsh backdrop, a palpable tension unfolds between two convicts, Tommy Barrett, a hardened criminal grappling with his past, and Elizabeth Quinn, a woman of unwavering strength seeking a new beginning. Their intertwined paths ignite a captivating narrative that explores the resilience of the human spirit amidst the brutality of convict life.

The Pillars of the Earth (2010)

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In a remarkable turn of events, “The Pillars of the Earth” shatters the notion that a series centered on cathedral construction could be anything but riveting. This enthralling 12th-century narrative skilfully interweaves a complex tapestry of political and religious intrigue, set against the backdrop of the construction of a magnificent cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge.

Peaky Blinders (2013-2022)

Image Credit: Caryn Mandabach Productions

Emerging from the tumultuous aftermath of World War I, Peaky Blinders unveils a captivating gangster drama centered on Tommy Shelby. A war hero hardened by the atrocities of conflict, Tommy cunningly ascends the ranks of the underworld, establishing himself as a formidable kingpin. His unwavering ambition drives him to elevate the Shelby family beyond their criminal roots and into the realm of legitimate entrepreneurship.

Wolf Hall (2015)

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Set against the backdrop of King Henry VIII’s tumultuous reign, Wolf Hall weaves a captivating tale of power, ambition, and the relentless pursuit of a male heir. Through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, a shrewd and cunning commoner who rises to become the King’s closest advisor, viewers are granted an intimate glimpse into the inner workings of the Tudor court and the complex dynamics that shaped the course of English history.

The Durrells (2016-2019)

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In the picturesque backdrop of Corfu, 1935, the heartwarming television series “The Durrells in Corfu” unfolds a captivating tale of resilience, family bonds, and the transformative power of embracing new beginnings. Following the untimely passing of their father, Louisa Durrell, a widowed mother, courageously takes on the daunting task of raising her four children single-handedly. Navigating cultural adjustments, financial constraints, and the emotional complexities of grief and loss, Louisa’s unwavering determination and unwavering love for her children shine through.

The Last Kingdom (2015-2022)

Image Credit: Carnival Film and Television

In the tumultuous world of 866 AD, “The Last Kingdom” follows Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a young Saxon noble captured and raised by Vikings. Grappling with conflicting loyalties, Uhtred embarks on a quest to reclaim his ancestral lands and restore his family’s honor. Amidst shifting alliances, betrayals, and relentless wars, Uhtred’s journey is a captivating tale of identity, loyalty, and conquest.

Poldark (2015-2019)

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Returning home from the American Revolutionary War, Ross Poldark finds his estate in ruins and his fiancée engaged to his cousin. Undeterred, he reopens a derelict copper mine and marries a servant girl, all while grappling with lingering feelings for his former fiancée.

The White Queen (2013)

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Amidst the tumultuous backdrop of the Wars of the Roses, “The White Queen” emerges as a captivating tale of female empowerment and the relentless pursuit of power. The series revolves around the intricate power struggles between three remarkable women: Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort, and Anne Neville. As they navigate a world fraught with betrayals, political maneuvering, and accusations of witchcraft, these indomitable women forge their own paths to influence and control. Their quest for the throne is a testament to their unwavering determination and unwavering resilience in a society dominated by men.

Call the Midwife (2012-present)

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Set against the backdrop of 1950s and 1960s London, the heartwarming series “Call the Midwife” chronicles the lives of midwives, nurses, and nuns working within the East End community. While childbirth forms the core of their endeavors, the series delves beyond the maternity ward to address critical social issues that resonated deeply with the era, such as racial discrimination, poverty, and the complexities surrounding abortion.

Victoria (2016-2019)

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For those captivated by the intricate world of royalty and the enigmatic Queen Victoria, the historical drama series “Victoria” offers an immersive and insightful exploration of her remarkable reign. The series chronicles her early life, beginning with her unexpected ascent to the throne at the tender age of 18, her passionate marriage to Prince Albert, and the myriad challenges she faced in navigating the tumultuous political landscape of 19th-century England.

Ripper Street (2012-2016)

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You might remember learning about Jack the Ripper in history lessons, but have you ever wondered what happened after the terror in London subsided? This gripping drama unfolds in the aftermath of the murders, following Inspector Edmund Reid and his colleagues as they work to restore peace in Whitechapel. Against the backdrop of endless opium dens, gang wars, and human trafficking, this series is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Outlander (2014-present)

Image Credit: Sony Pictures Television

This time-traveling war series offers an engaging watch. Long after the reign of terror that gripped London during the Jack the Ripper murders, the aftermath still lingers in the shadows of Whitechapel. Detective Inspector Edmund Reid and his team grapple with the lingering fear and unrest, striving to maintain order amidst a backdrop of opium dens, gang wars, and the insidious trade in human trafficking.

The Crown (2016-present)

Image Credit: Left Bank Pictures

The series masterfully interweaves historical events with fictionalized narratives, providing an intimate look into the private lives of the royal family. Viewers are privy to the delicate balance between public duty and personal sacrifice, the challenges of navigating familial relationships amidst the constant glare of the spotlight, and the profound impact of historical events on the lives of those at the heart of the monarchy.

“The Crown” is a captivating blend of historical drama and poignant personal stories, capturing the essence of the British royal family and their enduring influence on the world stage.

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