10 best British historical dramas

The cast of 'Outlander'
The cast of 'Outlander' / Erik Tanner/GettyImages

Historical dramas don't just take viewers back in time; they transport them to another universe. The U.K. knows how to make great historical dramas because it's part of their cultural identity. They can be in tune with their past without forgetting to stay in the present. With so many excellent British historical dramas, choosing the best is hard.

10. 'Call The Midwife'

Call The Midwife satisfies both history and medical history buffs. It follows a team of East End London midwives in the '50s. The series does a great job of accurately depicting the ups and downs of midwifery. Some pretty amazing things happen, but the makers didn't have complete creative control over the story. Everything is based on the diaries of Jennifer Worth, who was part of the Community of St. John the Divine nursing order.

9. 'Poldark'

Poldark isn't an ordinary historical drama series. In the beginning, Captain Ross Poldark realizes his home has drastically changed after returning from fighting in the American War of Independence. His lover has married his cousin, and his father is dead. Eventually, though, Poldark settles into his new life and finds love.

8. 'The Tudors'

The Tudors follows the real-life story of King Henry VIII, one of the most notorious Tudor kings. Anyone who's taken a history class knows how this story ends, but The Tudors tells it in an interesting way. Jonathan Rhys Meyers' portrayal of the temperamental king is one of the best, and the series overall is one of the best depictions of the Tudor era.

7. 'Victoria'

Victoria also follows the real-life story of one of Britain's most famous monarchs, Queen Victoria. The series starts with the young 18-year-old Victoria landing on the throne after her uncle's death. Many true events are dramatized. However, it does touch on some of the defining moments in Victoria's early reign, including her infatuation with her advisor Lord Melbourne and her romance with her husband, Prince Albert.

6. 'Gentleman Jack'

Gentleman Jack is a new kind of historical drama series. It's all about women trying to break norms in a male-dominated world. Set in the 1830s in Yorkshire, it follows landowner and industrialist Anne Lister and her romance with Ann Walker. They are one of the best LGBTQ TV couples. Overall, the show is historically accurate because it's based on Lister's real diaries.

5. 'Bridgerton'

Bridgerton is another new kind of historical drama series. Set in the Regency era, the hit Netflix series follows the lives of the Bridgertons as they navigate the competitive world of London's ton. The social season, when marriageable youth of nobility and gentry are introduced into society, is vicious but extremely juicy.

4. 'Peaky Blinders'

Peaky Blinders gave fans everything they ever wanted in a British historical drama series. The writing was perfect, keeping us on the edge of our seats, even if it took many creative liberties. The real-life Birmingham gang wasn't as ruthless or political, but Cillian Murphy and everyone else killed it with their portrayals.

3. 'Downton Abbey'

Downton Abbey is one of the most famous British historical drama series. It follows the lives of the upstairs and downstairs as the prominent Crawley family tries to figure out how to survive while the rest of the world rapidly changes. The Earl and Countess Gratham have three daughters and no male heir, but they quickly learn that that isn't their biggest issue. Grand estates like Downton Abbey are going extinct no matter what. Downton Abbey gave us the full gamut of emotions; it made viewers cry just as fast as it made them laugh. The drama was always juicy.

2. 'Outlander'

Outlander thrives on history because the protagonist actually travels back in time. Like Call The Midwife, the historical drama series satisfies history and medical history lovers. Claire, a nurse from the 1940s, touches a stone in the Scottish Highlands and is transported to 1743. The series has never held back in showing audiences how rough life was then. Everything was life or death, but thankfully Claire knows to get through it all, even if she is a Sassenach.

1. 'The Crown'

Netflix's The Crown is one of the best depictions of Queen Elizabeth II's life. The series starts years before the queen takes the throne and touches on many of the major moments of her long reign. Apart from the historical moments, the writers and creators had to take some creative license. We don't know how the queen truly acted or reacted behind closed doors. However, there's never a dull moment in The Crown.

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