We’ve been watching a lot of British TV shows and movies to prepare for our first trip to England. Here are some of my favorites.

Sherlock, Season 2, DVD set

Sherlock, a modern re-telling of the Sherlock Holmes stories

1. Sherlock. London is a practically a character in this modernized version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story.

2. Call the Midwife. The East End in the 1950s. The music is terrific, too!

3. Foyle’s War. My favorite show set in World War II. Is it weird that I want to be Sam Stewart?

4. Land Girls. To get my WWII fix after I watched all of Foyle’s War.

5. Downton Abbey. Duh.

6. Doctor Who. I’ve been a fan since college, and I’m loving the new ones.

7. Inspector Morse and Lewis and Endeavour. Detectives in Oxford.

Shoreditch

St. Leonard’s at Shoreditch. Photo from Wikipedia article on Rev.

8. Rev. Rick found this one on Hulu Plus. Rev. is a comedy about a preacher in the inner-city of London. I got a kick out of learning about the church that plays the church on TV — St. Leonard’s in Shoreditch, one of the churches featured in the Oranges and Lemons rhyme (When I grow rich, ring the bells of Shoreditch) and a church with connections to Shakespeare. Check out the church website for some cool videos.

9. Love, Actually. A movie we watch every year at Christmas. This pretty much defines what I think of as modern England. Do you think I’ll be disappointed at the real thing? Especially since it won’t be Christmas time when we’re there?

10. Scrooge. The version of The Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim, which I’m afraid, is how I actually think about London. How much could it have changed in the last 170 years?

Top Ten TuesdayWhat do your recommend that I watch before our trip?

Besides the Top 10 Tuesday meme at Broke and Bookish, I’ll link this post to British Isles Friday this week.

Signature of Joy Weese Moll


Comments

Top Ten Brit Shows — 22 Comments

  1. I’m a big fan of all the Rowan Atkinson comedies (Mr. Bean, Blackadder, The Thin Blue Line), as well as Fawlty Towers, Are You Being Served? Keeping Up Appearances just to name a few more. I also really loved the show Coupling which is kind of like a British version of Friends. Have a wonderful trip!

  2. Our favorite most recent is – My Mad Fat Diary. If you can find it here in the US. It should give you a taste for some of the more casual accents over in England. It’s funny and heartwarming.
    ********
    You will have a blast, but be prepared for CULTURE SHOCK. And not understanding a word they say despite all the British TV you’ve watched. My husband is English (a Yorkshireman.) It took me at least 10 trips to begin to understand half of what they are saying.

    You’ll love the pubs. Try a “local bitter” when asking the bartender for a true taste of England. But get a “half pint” since you may not like it since it will not be ice cold and is not fizzy like US beer. But the bartender will be impressed. Though he may not show it. You know those Brits and their stoic countenance.
    Cheers!

  3. I’m addicted to PBS and any of the Masterpiece Theater series. What is it about these shows that we love so much?

    I’m not sure if I enjoy or deplore the fact that it’s always the same dozen actors on all BBC series.

  4. I enjoy Sherlock and Doctor Who as well. Rev sounds entertaining. Recently I started Broadchurch, starring David Tennant, which I am really enjoying. It’s about the murder of a young boy in a small British seaside town and how the murder impacts the community.

  5. I’ve never seen Sherlock but I hear it’s quite popular. No television feed at our home so it’s all Netflix. So envious of your trip! We vacationed there in 1999, so long ago, and it was wonderful. Have a great time!!

  6. Hi Joy,

    Thanks so much for coming to The Marmelade Gypsy during Paris in July and leaving such a nice comment. I love it when I meet other bloggers who like some of the same things I do — and when I see some of my favorite Brit-shows listed, I am always extra happy!

    If you like gardens and a good mystery, I recommend the series “Rosemary and Thyme.” (Sister Evangelina has quite a different role!) Two garden designers who work on rather spectacular British estates always seem to end up in the middle of a mystery. I think they’re quite good — fun but good plots, too.

    And go to the source of Inspector Lewis and Endeavour with the original Inspector Morse series. John Thaw was quite amazing and there are a ton of them to whet your Oxford whistle.

    Try the original House of Cards trilogy with Ian Richardson (House of Cards, To Play the King and The Final Cut) which is the “father” of the American version. From where I sit, it’s better — and I learned much about Parliament and the government!

    To get your history fix, you can find the series “Lillie” about Lillie Langtry on DVD. And Edward VII is also very good. They tie together well.

    Others recommended Broadchurch and Last Tango in Halifax — the second season of the latter is currently on PBS stations and some of the back episodes of the season can be found for online viewing at pbs.org.

    Of course there are the Austens — Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, etc. for the old things. For something more contemporary, “New Tricks” is a fun police procedural with plenty of humour and good plots. And don’t forget the original “Upstairs Downstairs” for Edwardian history. Oh, and The Duchess of Duke Street. I think these are all available on netflix or at Acorn TV (acorntv.com, I think) if you have streaming. And “We’ll Meet Again” for WWII. OH! And The Bletchley Circle for post WWII — that MIGHT still be online at pbs.org but also on DVD.

    I could watch Brit stuff all day. I’m reading Brit fiction this summer, having just finished the Susan Elia MacNeal Maggie Hope mysteries. And Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series is my favorite for post WWI. Now I’m into Christopher Fowler’s mysteries. Too many choices.

    Envious of your trip. How you will adore it!

    • Thanks for all these terrific suggestions! I put House of Cards on my Netflix queue. I’ll have to see if I can track down some of these others.

  7. Great list–I love British shows too, and Call the Midwife is definitely at the top of my list of current shows. I liked the first two seasons of Land Girls, but didn’t care for the third so much.

    Have you ever watched As Time Goes By, the brit-com with Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer? It’s absolutely wonderful!

    I’m a long-time fan of All Creatures Great and Small. Bletchley Circle is also terrific, although I haven’t seen season 2 yet.

    Enjoy your trip!

    • I loved As time Goes By, and totally forgot about Bletchley Circle which we very much enjoyed — in fact, Bletchley Park is on our itinerary!

  8. We clearly have very similar tastes in British shows, as I like most of the ones that you have mentioned. No. 4 & 8 I have never heard of and Doctor Who I tried but couldn’t get into. I suppose you know that Inspector Morse and Endeavour are the same character, just at different points in his career (different actors though).

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