In the mood for something from the other side of the pond? Looking for a British series to binge? Netflix has a lavish offering when it comes to quality Brit-shows, whether they are cheeky comedies, dark mysteries, or superb left-field ruminations on mortality, technology, or the future.
We’ve compiled a “Best Of” list featuring the greatest British shows to watch on Netflix. Some of them are Netflix Originals, some are BBC series, and some are international co-productions. All of them, though, make for an excellent watch, guaranteed to give you the “Brit fix” you desire.
Click through the gallery below, or scroll down for our complete list of the best British shows on Netflix right now:
The Best British Shows on Netflix Right Now
Please note: This list pertains to US Netflix subscribers. Some titles may not currently be available on international platforms. This article is frequently amended to remove shows no longer on Netflix and to include more original films that are now available on the service.
First up is The Crown, the show that’s unequaled in delivering unto Netflix mass quantities of trophies at awards shows. It’s also one of the most ambitiously structured series ever, spanning the entire life of Queen Elizabeth II, with different actresses playing Her Majesty for two seasons each, during different eras of her rule – including Claire Foy, Olivia Coleman, and (upcoming in Season 5) Imelda Staunton. The series also boasts the likes of Matt Smith, Tobias Menzies, John Lithgow, Helena Bonham Carter, Jared Harris, Gillian Anderson, and Vanessa Kirby.
Sex Education is a bawdy, nothing-held-back series about the son of a sex therapist who forms a risky/risque side business with a local outcast (whom he crushes on) to offer sex advice and intimacy counseling to his classmates at school. It’s hilarious, heartwarming, inclusive, and will have you screaming in joyful embarrassment. Starring Asa Butterfield, MacKey, Gillian Anderson (you’ll notice a slight Gillian Anderson pattern in this list), and Ncuti Gatwa, Sex Education already has three seasons up on Netflix, with a fourth on the way.
Heard about Peaky Blinders from your friends? Well, the only way to easily watch it in the States is on Netflix, and with the sixth and final season landing on June 10, you’ve got plenty of time to catch up. Headlined by Cillian Murphy, Peaky Blinders (titled after the practice of stitching razor blades into the peak of one’s cap) centers on a family of Irish-Romanian gangsters in Birmingham, England following the First World War. The series also stars Sam Neill, (the late) Helen McCrory, Tom Hardy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Aidan Gillen, Adrien Brody, and many more. So if you’re clamoring for a gangland epic, this is it.
Though created by and executive produced by Americans Shonda Rhimes and Chris Van Dusen, Bridgerton is all smolderingly sexy Brits and based on Julia Quinn’s novels set in the competitive world of Regency-era London, during the season when debutantes are presented at court. The first series in Rhimes’ landmark Netflix deal — and set in racially-integrated London in which people of color are members of high society — Bridgerton is one of the hottest shows on Netflix, in terms of both popularity and pure sexual chemistry. With each season set around one of the Bridgerton siblings finding love, the series now has two seasons under its belt with seasons 3 and 4 already ordered and on the way.
The End of the F***ing World
Though it was perhaps canceled prematurely (an argument can also be made that it would have been better as just a one-season limited series), The End of the F***ing World, based on Charles Forsman’s mini-comics, is a dark comedy about a delinquent and a psychopath who find love and companionship while also a trail of chaos behind leaving them. With standout performances by Jessica Barden and Alex Lawther, this two-season show was the embodiment of rebellious catharsis.
Starting as a BBC series, Black Mirror got scooped up by Netflix and now exists as an original series on the streaming giant. This revolutionary anthology series, created (and primarily written) by Charlie Brooker, is bleak, unsettling sci-fi that reflects the way humans interact with technology and social media and unleashes stories about what life might be like with future tech available at our fingertips. With five seasons, one special, and one interactive Netflix film currently in its catalog, Black Mirror has given us some truly disturbing gems, with twists and reveals that audiences have rocked much like the original run of The Twilight Zone.
This limited series stars Game of Thrones/Eternals’ Richard Madden as a PTSD-stricken veteran assigned to protect Keeley Hawes’ targeted Home Secretary. Though he personally loathes her politics, an attraction forms between them, and what follows is an intense thriller filled with twists, turns, and conspiracies. At only six episodes, it just might be the perfect broken boy binge you’re looking for. See our review of season 1 for more info.
This twisted cat-and-mouse game, set in Northern Ireland, stars Jamie Dornan as a sinister serial killer and Gillian Anderson as the special detective brought in to profile him, catch him, and stop his reign of terror. The Fall is a grim, compelling watch and perfect for fans of crime sagas that show you the killer’s side of the story as well the police’s, keeping you on the edge of your seat until their journeys finally crash together.
Ricky Gervais, who’s created some of the funniest and most captivating shows of all time, scores big with After Life, which just wrapped up after three seasons (and 18 episodes). As one of TV’s best meditations on, and explorations of, grief, after Life stars Gervais as a devastated widower who struggles to move on with his life, or to allow himself any happiness in the wake of his wife’s tragic passing.
The Great British Baking Show
Forced into a name change when it began airing in the US on PBS, The Great British Baking Show (known elsewhere as The Great British Bake Off) is a delightful culinary competition series featuring amateur bakers pitted against each other in a series of rounds, attempting to impress a group of judges with their baking skills. This immensely popular international hit will have you rooting for bakers as they craft cakes, tarts, biscuits, brownies, puddings, and more.
This four-part limited series from David Hare (writer of The Hours and The Reader) stars Carey Mulligan as a DI assigned to investigate a suburban shooting, uncovering a tangled web of secrets and lies along the way. It’s a thought-provoking thriller designed to push buttons and boundaries, co-starring Billie Piper, John Simm, and Robert Portal.
From Misfits/Future Man’s Howard Overman comes Crazyhead, comprised of six demented demon butt-kicking episodes. Susan Wokoma and Cara Theobold star in this cheeky, dirty, violent show about two tough women trying to survive their twenties while also stomping a mudhole in a whole lot of evil asses.
Call the Midwife
Call the Midwife is a Brit-series institution at this point — akin to Downton Abbey — running since 2012, with eleven seasons to date. This period drama about a group of nurse midwives working in the East End of London in the late 1950s has held audiences in a spell for a decade, showcasing the troubles and tools of female social issues in the story’s post-war, pre-pill setting . Right now 10 of the 11 seasons are available on Netflix.
Downton Abbey is the juggernaut upstairs/downstairs soap that’s still churning out theatrical movies today. The whole nine-season run can be found on Netflix so it just might be time to see what all the fuss was about and why viewers all over the world went simply nuts for the Crawley family, their domestic servants, and the progress creeping into the world of the social hierarchies during the First World War and the subsequent “roaring 20s.” Starring Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, Dan Stevens, Lily James, and more, and created by Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey created a fan frenzy of sorts, with people throwing Downton parties and events for years.
This brilliant dramedy, created by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge before her bigger Fleabag, follows the lives of six twenty-somethings living together as property guardians in a disused hospital, keeping the building safe in exchange for cheaper rent and a strict set of rules. Co-starring Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey, Being Human’s Damien Molony, and The Windsor’s Louise Ford, Crashing is six episodes of crackling wit and fresh edginess.
Derry Girls is an absolutely hilarious and charming teen comedy created and written by Lisa McGee, inspired by her own life growing up in Derry, Northern Ireland during the final years of the Troubles in the 1990s, when Irish nationalists wanted Northern Ireland to leave the UK Starring Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, and (unofficial Derry Girl) Dylan Llewellyn, the series follows a clique of teens trying to navigate society, school, and their home-life. Usually in the most embarrassing ways possible. Two seasons are up on Netflix as the long-awaited third season currently airs in the UK right now.
Last Tango in Halifax
Starring British stage and film legends Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid, Last Tango in Halifax follows a widow and widower in their 70s who find each other later in life, having previously been in love with each other as young adults decades earlier. Created by writer Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley), and loosely based on her mother’s second marriage, the series has been praised for its portrayal of septuagenarian love and its sublime mix of gravity and levity.
The IT Crowd
One of the most influential Brit-coms of the last 20 years was The IT Crowd, which ran for four seasons (and one farewell special). A workplace comedy airing in the same era as the original UK Office, The IT Crowd starred Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade, and Katherine Parkinson as the IT Department for the fictional Reynholm Industries in London. Immensely popular, The IT Crowd almost spawned an American remake starring Joel McCale (and original cast member Ayoade), though that never made it to production
If you’re not one for outrageously embarrassing or impossibly awkward situations then you’d do best to steer clear of The Inbetweeners, one of the most expertly-made cringe comedies ever created. Following the mad misadventures of four suburban teenage boys — played by Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley, and Blake Harrison — The Inbetweeners was a three-season phenomenon, spawning two movies after its TV run. So it’s like the Downton Abbey of uncomfortable adolescent comedies.
This sweeping time travel romance (which gets way darker and heavier than one might assume) stars Caitríona Balfe as a married war nurse, Claire Randall, transported from 1945 to 1743, where she falls in love with Sam Heughan’s Scottish highlander Jamie Fraser. Spanning decades, in both the 20th and 18th centuries, Outlander has a fandom like no other. Based on the long-running book series by Diana Gabaldon, which began in the late ’80s, and developed by BSG’s Ronald D. Moore, Outlander has more or less given us one book per season, though the current season running on Starz is shorter than usual due to the pandemic. Still, five seasons of this addictive saga await you on Netflix.
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
All 45 episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the game-changing sketch comedy series that ran from 1969 to 1974, influencing every single comedian to come out of that generation and popularizing the “sketch show” in general, are just sitting there on Netflix, waiting for you to behold their glory. The Pythons’ inspired lunacy not only swept America in the ’60s and ’70s but thanks to PBS and MTV airing Flying Circus reruns in the ’80s their legacy extended on.
Looking for more Netflix content? We’ve rounded up a list of the best Netflix movies to watch right now. You can also take a look at our guide to Netflix horror shows and sci-fi movies if you’re into that sort of thing.