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The 36 Best British TV Shows to Binge-Watch in 2024 (and Where to Find Them)

Good British TV shows can be incredibly addicting.

And with so many streaming platforms, you’re not likely to run out of content anytime soon. 

Keep reading for 36 of the best British TV shows available now, including top-rated dramas, comedies and more with tons of fans globally. 

These shows are sure to engage and entertain you while exposing you to British pop culture!

Contents


Comedies and Dramadies 

1. “Fleabag” (2016-2019)

“Fleabag” is a critically acclaimed British series that offers a darkly comedic and poignant exploration of modern life. Created by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the show follows the misadventures of an irreverent and complex woman navigating love, family and self-discovery in London.

Breaking the fourth wall, Waller-Bridge’s character addresses the audience with sharp wit and vulnerability, providing a unique narrative intimacy. The series has garnered praise for its masterful blend of humor and heart.

Where to watch: Prime Video

2. “All Creatures Great and Small” (2020-present)

This series captures the spirit of James Herriot’s beloved memoirs. Set in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales during the 1930s, the show follows James Herriot, a newly qualified veterinarian, as he navigates the challenges and joys of rural practice.

The heartwarming series beautifully depicts the tight-knit community, the endearing relationships between humans and animals, and the timeless allure of the English countryside. It’s a delightful portrayal of life, love and the healing power of compassion.

Where to watch: Prime Video

3. “The IT Crowd” (2006-2013)

This sitcom gained a cult following in Britain and was later adapted into a German version. It follows the mismatched team of three IT employees of the fictional Reynholm Industries as they deal with the struggles of office life, with hilarious results. 

The socially awkward IT department consists of Roy, Maurice Moss and their tech-challenged manager Jen. The show successfully showcases dry British humor as applied to the workplace and the witty banter of these memorable characters. 

Where to watch: Prime Video

4. “The Office” (UK Version) (2001-2003)

“The Office” is a British comedy in the style of a mockumentary. The boss of the office is played by famous comedian Ricky Gervais, who believes he’s well-liked and entertaining in the office—but not everyone shares his opinions. 

In classic British comedy style, it plays a lot on themes of embarrassment and ineptitude, with plenty of hilarious “cringe” moments. If you’re a fan of the American version, you’ll notice that the two have different (but equally entertaining) comedy styles.

Where to watch: Prime Video 

5. “Derry Girls” (2018-2022)

“Derry Girls” is a story of four teenage girls and one boy, and their life at a Catholic high school in Northern Ireland in the 1900s. At this time, Ireland and Britain were in a conflict known as The Troubles. 

With intermittent references to this difficult political time, the series walks the line between social commentary and hilarious, lighthearted fun. The group of misfits and their misadventures will have you laughing out loud and appreciating their unconditional friendship. 

Where to watch: Netflix

6. “My Mad Fat Diary” (2013-2015)

This poignant dramedy centers on Rae Earl as she navigates adolescence and mental health in the ’90s. Freshly discharged from a psychiatric hospital, Rae confronts body image issues and social anxieties while reconnecting with old friends and forging new bonds.

The series strikes a balance between humor and raw emotion, offering an authentic portrayal of teenage struggles. Rooney’s standout performance and the show’s honest exploration of mental health make this a compelling series. 

Where to watch: Hulu | Channel 4

7. “Brassic” (2019-present)

This darkly comedic British series delves into the lives of a group of working-class friends in the fictional northern town of Hawley. The show follows Vinnie and his eclectic gang as they navigate unconventional schemes and cheeky escapades to survive.

The series masterfully balances its irreverent humor with heartfelt moments and unexpected tenderness, creating a distinctive and entertaining narrative that portrays friendship and resilience in the face of economic challenges. 

Where to watch: Hulu

8. “Sex Education” (2019-present)

This hilarious British series follows the misadventures and love lives of teenagers who are grappling with their sexuality. The show follows an awkward teenager named Otis who’s doing his best to fit in at high school.

Despite his inexperience, he starts giving out sexual advice to his fellow classmates, and things quickly get complicated. With a famous sex therapist for his mom and an openly gay best friend from a traditional Ghanian family, Otis’s adventures delve into socially relevant issues with a uniquely progressive take. 

Where to watch: Netflix

9. “The Inbetweeners” (2008-2010)

The inbetweeners are a group of four high school friends struggling with all the difficulties of teenage life. They sit between the different groups of “cool” and “uncool” students and share a level of immaturity and eagerness that gets them into humorous situations. 

The series follows their four “coming-of-age” stories, depicting the development of the characters in their personal lives through their teen years. “The Inbetweeners” is rated 15+ due to mature themes such as sex and alcohol.

Where to watch: Prime Video

10. “Gavin and Stacey” (2007-2019)

Many know comedian James Corden as the host of “The Late Late Show” and his viral carpool karaoke videos, but to many Brits, he’s the lovable character “Smithy” and writer of the widely popular comedy series “Gavin and Stacey.”

This charming British sitcom revolves around the endearing romance of Gavin from Essex and Stacey from Wales. It explores the humorous dynamics of their relationship and the quirks of their eccentric families and best friends, Smithy and Nessa.

Where to watch: Prime Video 

11. “Motherland” (2016-present)

“Motherland” is a comedic exploration of the chaotic world of modern-day parenting. The series follows Julia, played by Anna Maxwell Martin, as she juggles the demands of career, family and social expectations.

Set against the backdrop of school gates and playdates, the show satirizes the challenges faced by mothers, offering a humorous take on the absurdities and pressures of contemporary parenting culture. It offers sharp wit, a talented cast and refreshing relatability. 

Where to watch: AMC+ | Prime Video

12. “Chewing Gum” (2015-2017)

Set in modern-day London, this quirky series follows the story of Tracey Gordon, a 20-something virgin who wants to explore her sexuality but is grappling with her religious upbringing and its accompanying repression. 

There are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments throughout the show as Tracey gets into awkward situations like accidentally going to a sex party. The show provides a fresh perspective on coming-of-age experiences with sharp wit and unapologetic humor.

Where to watch: Prime Video | Netflix

Dramas

13. “Skins” (2007–2013)

“Skins” is a groundbreaking British teen drama that boldly explores the tumultuous lives of a group of Bristol teenagers. Over seven seasons, the series delves into taboo subjects such as mental health, substance abuse and identity.

Each season focuses on a new generation of characters navigating the challenges of adolescence, creating a raw and authentic portrayal of youth culture. The show has become a cult classic, and a US version was released in 2011. 

Where to watch: Hulu | Channel 4

14. “Killing Eve” (2018-2022)

“Killing Eve” is a suspenseful British spy thriller that follows the cat-and-mouse game between Eve Polastri, an MI6 agent played by Sandra Oh, and the enigmatic assassin Villanelle, portrayed by Jodie Comer.

The series seamlessly blends dark humor, espionage and complex character dynamics. As Eve becomes obsessed with capturing Villanelle, the lines between hunter and prey blur, leading to a thrilling and unpredictable narrative.

Where to watch: Prime Video 

15. “It’s a Sin” (2021)

This poignant mini-series delves into the lives of a group of friends in 1980s London as they navigate the joy, heartbreak and societal challenges during the AIDS epidemic.

The series explores friendship, love and the impact of the epidemic on the LGBTQ+ community. With a stellar cast led by Olly Alexander, it skillfully balances humor and heartache while shedding light on the discrimination faced by the community.

Where to watch: HBO Max

Crime Dramas 

16. “Sherlock” (2010-2017)

“Sherlock” follows the mystery-solving adventures of the world-famous British detective, Sherlock Holmes (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), in modern-day Britain. Sherlock is constantly going up against his arch-nemesis, Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott), in a battle of the mind and intelligence.

He has his friend, the army doctor veteran Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman), to help him, along with his unmatched attention to detail and inductive reasoning.

Where to watch: Prime Video | BBC iPlayer (VPN needed if outside of the UK)

17. “Peaky Blinders” (2013-2022)

“Peaky Blinders” follows the rise and fall of gangster families in post-WWI Birmingham. Thomas Shelby, played by Irish actor Cillian Murphy, is the head of a crime family called the Peaky Blinders.

There’s a ton of action and intrigue in this show because the gang constantly ups their ambitions for more power. They start out as a small gang in Birmingham, and then eventually expand to all over the world. However, a determined law officer is on a mission to catch them and bring order to Birmingham.

Where to watch: Netflix

18. “Line of Duty” (2012-2021)

This widely popular and highly-rated series follows an anti-corruption unit as they investigate complex cases involving officers suspected of misconduct. With intense interrogations and intricate plot twists, “Line of Duty” masterfully builds suspense across its seasons.

Known for its labyrinthine storytelling and shocking revelations, the show explores the thin line between duty and betrayal, offering a relentless and thrilling examination of morality within the police force until its riveting conclusion in 2021.

Where to watch: HuluBBC iPlayer (VPN needed if outside of the UK)

19. “Endeavor” (2012-2023)

This British detective drama serves as a prequel to the beloved “Inspector Morse” series. Set in the 1960s and ’70s, the show follows the early career of the brilliant detective Endeavour Morse, portrayed by Shaun Evans.

As Morse navigates the complexities of crime-solving in Oxford, viewers witness the origins of his trademark intellect and introspection. “Endeavour” seamlessly pays homage to its predecessor while carving its own niche in the world of crime dramas. 

Where to watch: Prime Video | Google Play

20. Luther” (2010-2019)

Portrayed by Idris Elba, Detective Chief Inspector John Luther is a brilliant but tormented detective who tackles heinous crimes in the gritty streets of London. His unconventional methods often blur the lines between justice and his own moral compass. 

Elba’s compelling performance and the show’s intense storytelling create a tense atmosphere, exploring complex characters and psychological depths as he confronts murderers and delves into the darkest corners of the human psyche

Where to watch: Prime Video

21. “Broadchurch” (2013-2017)

The discovery of a young boy’s lifeless body in the tranquil coastal town of Broadchurch sends shockwaves through the community, unraveling deep-seated secrets and challenging the residents’ trust.

Detectives Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller lead the investigation, exposing layers of deception and emotional turmoil. The series masterfully explores the impact of the crime on individuals and the community, blending suspenseful storytelling with nuanced character development.

Where to watch: Prime Video

22. “Unforgotten” (2015-present)

This series follows detectives Cassie Stuart and Sunny Khan as they delve into historical crimes, revealing hidden connections and long-buried secrets. The show delicately explores the impact of these investigations on both victims and suspects.

“Unforgotten” captivates audiences with its emotionally charged narratives and the quest for resolution in cases long thought forgotten, providing a nuanced portrayal of human complexity. 

Where to watch: Prime Video | PBS

23. “Bodyguard” (2018-2024)

David Budd, a police officer and Afghanistan war veteran, is tasked with being the bodyguard of the United Kingdom’s home secretary, the MP (Member of Parliament) Julia Montague. Things get complicated between the two as they become close.

When David discovers a government conspiracy that puts them both at risk, he must decide who to trust and how far he’ll go to protect those he loves. This series is full of action and gunfights that will keep you on the edge of your seat. 

Where to watch: Prime Video | Netflix

24. “The Fall” (2013-2016)

In this British-Irish drama series, detective Stella Gibson is brought in to investigate a mysterious murder case. She gets pitted against Paul Spector, a social worker who turns out to be a serial killer targeting young professional women.

They become fascinated with each other as they engage in a battle of wits, both keeping detailed diary entries as the crimes continue to escalate. Woven throughout the show is a political subplot focused on the relationship between the police and the government.

Where to watch: Prime Video | BBC iPlayer (VPN needed if outside the UK)

Period Pieces and Historical Dramas

25. “Downton Abbey” (2010-2015)

“Downton Abbey” follows aristocratic families in the early 1900s and the drama that happens behind closed doors. It’s a hugely popular, award-winning series that’s focused on the characters and their development throughout the show.

The show spans more than ten years, following the lives of the residents of a country estate as they experience major historical events like the sinking of the Titanic, World War I and the outbreak of the Spanish Flu. This is a great show to watch with your family!

Where to watch: Prime Video | PBS Passport

26. “The Crown” (2016-2023)

“The Crown” is a historical drama about the early years and reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The series blends real historical events with plenty of cinematic drama and has won three Golden Globe awards.

If you’re a fan of British royalty (or period dramas in general), you’ll enjoy how it goes over most of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, from when she was crowned Queen at 25 all the way to Princess Diana’s death in 1997. 

Where to watch: Netflix

27. “Victoria” (2016-2019)

“Victoria” chronicles the early reign of Queen Victoria, played by Jenna Coleman. The series delves into the challenges and triumphs of the young queen as she navigates her responsibilities, personal relationships and the political landscape of 19th-century Britain.

With exquisite costumes, intricate period detail and a stellar cast, this sumptuous historical drama captures the romance, intrigue and societal shifts of the Victorian era. It brings to life the love story at the heart of the British monarchy during a pivotal chapter in history.

Where to watch: Prime Video

28. “Vanity Fair” (2018)

This period drama brings William Makepeace Thackeray’s classic novel to life, unfolding in early 19th-century England against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars. The series follows Becky Sharp, a charismatic and ambitious young woman navigating society’s stratified layers.

Olivia Cooke delivers a compelling performance as Becky, whose social ascent is marked by cunning and wit. With lush cinematography and rich character development, “Vanity Fair” offers a visually stunning and thought-provoking journey through Regency-era society.

Where to watch: Prime Video

Sci-Fi and Fantasy

29. “Black Mirror” (2011-present)

“Black Mirror” is a provocative anthology series that explores a dystopian future where technology goes too far, bringing twisted consequences. It’s a creative and often unsettling show, with each episode featuring a different story with unique characters and ideas.

Every episode will make you think about the current state of humanity and where things are going, as the show addresses relevant issues like artificial intelligence, surveillance and social media, offering a chilling reflection of the human condition. 

Where to watch: Prime Video | Netflix

30. “Doctor Who” (1963-present)

“Doctor Who” is an iconic British sci-fi series and cultural phenomenon that transcends time and space. Launched in 1963, the show follows the Doctor, an enigmatic Time Lord with the ability to regenerate into a new form as they traverse the universe.

With a rich history spanning decades, the series blends adventure, wit and imaginative storytelling. Each iteration of the Doctor, portrayed by different actors, brings a unique flavor to the character. 

Where to watch:  Prime Video | Google Play

31. “Outlander” (2014-present)

“Outlander” is a captivating blend of historical romance and time-traveling adventure. Based on Diana Gabaldon’s novels, the series follows Claire Randall, a nurse from the 1940s, who mysteriously finds herself in 18th-century Scotland.

As she navigates the complex political landscape and encounters Jamie Fraser, a dashing Highlander, a passionate love story unfolds. The show weaves together elements of history, fantasy and drama, offering a rich tapestry of characters and plot twists.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime | Starz

32. “A Discovery of Witches” (2018-2022)

Blending fantasy and reality, this supernatural drama is based on Deborah Harkness’s bestselling novels. The series follows Diana Bishop, a historian and reluctant witch, who discovers a bewitched manuscript at Oxford.

This discovery thrusts her into a world of vampires, led by enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, and daemons, unraveling a complex mystery that challenges their coexistence. All this against a backdrop of enchanting locations and rich historical detail.

Where to watch: Prime Video

33. “Dracula” (2020)

“Dracula” is a retelling of the original vampire story, but in modern-day Britain. It’s a mini-series that’s only three episodes long, loosely following the original novel by Bram Stoker.

The series begins in a spooky castle in Eastern Europe. However, Dracula makes his way through time and travels west toward the United Kingdom. It’s a bit gory but also includes lots of humor and a big twist in the third and final episode.

Where to watch: Netflix

Reality TV Shows

34. “Top Gear” (UK) (2002-present)

Top Gear is a popular British TV series that takes car reviews to a whole new level with stunts, wild races and all sorts of creative tests. While the original 1970s version of the show had a more traditional approach, the revamped 2000s series goes all out.

The series features car races, celebrity guests and many unpredictable moments. Episodes have been filmed all over the world, with the scenery making it even more exciting to watch!

Where to watch: Prime VideoNetflix

35. “The Great British Bake Off” (2010-present)

This is a well-loved baking competition for amateur bakers. The bakers participate in a variety of competitions that test their baking and decorating skills, and they get eliminated one by one until one person remains as the champion.

The contestants also come from different walks of life all over Britain, and you’ll get to hear their stories throughout the show. This award-winning show is extremely popular worldwide. In the U.S. and Canada, it’s called “The Great British Baking Show.”

Where to watch: Prime Video

36. “Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham” (2021-present)

This is a delightful travelogue featuring “Outlander” stars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish. The series embarks on a captivating journey across Scotland, exploring its rich history, culture and traditions.

Heughan and McTavish bring humor and camaraderie as they traverse stunning landscapes, visit historic sites and immerse themselves in Scottish activities. The show is a joyous celebration of friendship, heritage and the enduring charm of Scotland. 

Where to watch: Prime Video | Starz

How to Learn English with TV Shows

Simply watching the show is always a basic way to learn some English, but there are other ways that you can get even more out of these TV shows. For one, there’s a lot of interesting vocabulary that you can pick up just from watching top-rated British series:

Here are three ideas to get you started:

Make a family tree

A family tree is a diagram that shows the relationships between people. For example, here’s a family tree of “The Peaky Blinders.” Writing down the characters and their relationships in a show will make it easier to understand and pay more attention to details.

Not all of these TV shows involve full families, so you could also draw out work relationships, show who are friends and enemies or any other connections that you think are important.

As you watch more episodes, you can even add character details to your diagram. These could be visual traits (i.e. glasses, blue eyes), personality traits (i.e. shy, powerful) or any other details about the character.

Look up fan theories. 

Fan theories are predictions (guesses) about what will happen next in the series and discussions about things that have already happened. These ideas are written by fans in online communities. 

You can find these theories by searching on Google for “[TV show name] fan theory,” or by searching Tumblr or Reddit under the name of your show or a character from it. The more complex and popular the show is, the more theories there will be for you to read.

After catching up with the newest episodes, challenge yourself to create a fan theory of your own!

Watch interviews.

You can watch behind-the-scenes videos and interviews with the cast members to learn more about the show and the actors. Many talk shows have actors on as guests, and you can simply use a search engine to look for “[Actor/show name] interview.” 

Many of these interviews go into detail about the characters’ personalities or things that happened on set. You can use this information in your family tree or charts, to write down any fun facts or secrets about the show to look out for as well.

Using these new ideas, as well as writing down and looking up new words and phrases that you hear, can help you get the most out of your English TV shows.

Why Learn English with British TV Shows?

Finally, here’s why British TV shows are a great resource for learning English: 

  • They add common slang terms to your English vocabulary. Since British TV shows are generally created for a British audience, the dialogue will include common British slang terms. By watching these TV shows, you’ll hear casual language that you might miss in a language course.
  • Practice listening to and understanding British accents. British accents sound very different than Australian or American accents. As you watch British TV shows, you’ll become more and more comfortable with understanding British accents.

     

  • Learn more about British culture and history. Sure, learning British English phrases might be your main goal. But as you watch British TV, you’ll also learn more about British culture and history.
  • Lots of people watch them. There are plenty of top-notch British shows that are widely known, even across different English-speaking countries and even globally. When you watch shows that many people like, you can talk about the show with more people.
  • Achieve fluency in an enjoyable way. Who doesn’t love watching TV? This is a fun and relaxed way to learn a language. Host a viewing party or simply put on Netflix for a night in, and choose a genre that you’re interested in! 

 

Now that you have several British TV shows to get you started, you can make some popcorn and begin binge-watching.

And if you run out of content, check out these excellent American TV shows next!

And One More Thing...

If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:

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If you want to watch it, the FluentU app has probably got it.

The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.

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FluentU lets you learn engaging content with world famous celebrities.

For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:

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FluentU lets you tap to look up any word.

Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.

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FluentU helps you learn fast with useful questions and multiple examples. Learn more.

The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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