9 costume drama boxsets to binge on
- Credit: Netflix
If you’re planning a boxset marathon, take a trip to days gone by with one of these classic costume dramas.
1. The Crown
We’re three seasons into Peter Morgan’s epic, addictive dramatisation of the reign of Queen Elizabeth – and with the fourth due later this year, now is the ideal time to catch up. Seasons one and two star Claire Foy, and follow the Queen as she settles into the role given to her by a twist of fate, with Olivia Colman taking over for season three which takes us from the mid 1960s to her Silver Jubilee year.
2. Call the Midwife
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Created by Heidi Thomas, based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, Call the Midwife follows a group of midwives working in post-war London. By turns hard-hitting and heartwarming, make yourself a big pot of tea and settle in – there are nine series to catch up on.
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Aidan Turner caused quite the stir when he galloped on to our screens as Winston Graham’s brooding Ross Poldark back in 2015 – and we can’t think of a better time to revisit rugged, windswept Cornwall. Adapted by Debbie Horsfield, the epic saga begins as Ross returns from the American War of Independence to discover that his love, Elizabeth, has got married while he was away.
4. The Durrells
Escape to sunny Corfu with the charming Durrell clan. Based on conservationist Gerald Durrell’s three autobiographical books about the four years his family spent living on the Greek island, the series begins in 1935 when Louisa Durrell (the brilliant Keeley Hawes) announces that they’re moving abroad.
5. Gentleman Jack
If you missed Sally Wainwright’s storming adaptation of Yorkshire industrialist Anne Lister’s diaries, Gentleman Jack, catch up now. Set in Yorkshire, the always-watchable Suranne Jones stars as the eponymous landowner and industrialist. Leaving Hastings with a broken heart, Anne heads to Halifax to restore her uncle’s estate, which she has inherited. The diaries, which detail Lister’s lesbian relationships, were written largely in secret code.
6. Pride and Prejudice
Andrew Davies’s 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy, is an all-time classic – and not just for a certain lake scene.
Based on Diana Gabaldon’s novel series of the same name, Outlander stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a married former Second World War nurse who in 1946 finds herself transported back to Scotland in 1743. There she encounters the Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and becomes embroiled in the Jacobite risings. The fifth season premiered in February, so there are plenty of episodes available to binge on.
8. Downton Abbey
Amazon Prime/ BritBox
Nothing has quite filled the Downton Abbey-shaped gap in our lives, so why not to go right back to the beginning and get reaquainted with the aristocratic Crawley family and their household staff? There are six series of upstairs-downstairs shenanigans – and brilliant turns from Maggie Smith’s dowager duchess – to escape into, plus, as a bonus, last year’s big screen return is available to rent now too.
9.Anne With An E
This latest small screen adaptation of L M Montgomery’s much-loved novel Anne of Green Gables is a joy. Set in the 1890s, brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert decide to adopt an orphan boy to help them out on their farm. Instead, Matthew finds Anne Shirley waiting for him at the railway station. Taking a chance on the high sprited girl, whose imagination gets her into endless scrapes, their lives are turned upside down.
What are your costume drama recommendations? Share them in the comments below.