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The 21 best British shows on Netflix: Our top picks
British shows have been giving American TV a run for its money for decades. They’re hugely popular in the US, and Netflix has got on board, licensing hit titles and even producing a few of its own. So, which are the best British shows on Netflix?
Check out: The best Netflix original films
Below, you’ll find our 21 top picks, including everything from Netflix originals to international co-productions to third-party hits, and genres from comedies to crime shows to sci-fi and everything in between.
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The best British shows on Netflix
Editor’s note: We will update this list regularly as new British shows are added to Netflix or others are removed from the service.
A British Army veteran with PTSD takes a job as a bodyguard for a politician whose platform he loathes. The two form a bond as he seeks to keep her safe amid a corruption cover-up and attempts on her life in this tense and clever thriller miniseries that originally aired on the BBC in the UK.
The son of a sex therapist teams up with a classmate to offer similar advice to his peers, running an illicit therapy business on school grounds. The show offers a frank look at teen (and adult) sexuality through compassionate portraits of teens struggling for acceptance and to find themselves. Sex Education is easily one of the best Netflix original series, and one of the best British shows on Netflix.
A kind of Gossip Girl set in England’s Regency era, Bridgerton follows the children of a powerful family trying to find love and suitable marriage partners in a dog-eat-dog world of courtship, gossip, and power. It’s one of the best British shows on Netflix, despite coming from an American production company: Shondaland. We feel okay bending the rules for such a fun, sexy, and gripping show.
The Great British Baking Show
A bit of lighthearted, positive fun can go a long way. The Great British Baking show is a global hit for a reason, with regional versions worldwide. Watch amateur bakers compete — often encouraging and celebrating one another — through various baking challenges until a panel of judges crowns a winner. We dare you to walk away anything but utterly enchanted.
Peaky Blinders follows a crime family in Britain after World War I. As the country struggles to get back on its feet, opportunity is everywhere, and war hero Thomas Shelby sees his chance to raise his family up through crime and legitimate business.
Before her hit series Fleabag, Killing Eve, and writing work on James Bond: No Time to Die, Phoebe Waller-Bridge created and starred in the Channel 4 comedy miniseries Crashing. Six 20-somethings save on rent by becoming property guardians (and tenants) of a disused hospital. The six navigate sexual tensions and conflict while evading eviction for as long as possible.
One of the best British shows on Netflix, the anthology series Black Mirror is a kind of updated Twilight Zone, with stand-alone stories that investigate our relationships to new technologies and the risks they pose to our way of life. Originally a Channel 4 show, Black Mirror has enjoyed three seasons and a feature film as one of the best Netflix original series.
Originally titled Scrotal Recall, Lovesick follows 20-something Dylan, a lovesick bachelor looking for the one, who discovers he has chlamydia. With the help of his friends, Dylan tracks down his past sexual partners to inform them of his sexually transmitted infection. With each past partner, we see flashbacks to defining moments in his quest for love.
One of the best British shows on Netflix and a defining Netflix original series, The Crown tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II throughout history. Seasons jump to different, important moments that shaped her reign, recasting major historical figures with every time jump. Whether you’re an Anglophile, Royal Family watcher, or have a casual interest in history, this award-winning fan-favorite belongs on your watchlist.
Set during the final years of the Troubles in Derry, Northern Ireland, this teen comedy follows a group of girls attending a Catholic, all-girls school in the 1990s. With a backdrop of real historical violence and political unrest, Derry Girls offers a touching and often hilarious portrait of a teen coming of age, based on creator Lisa McGee’s teen years.
Collateral takes place over four days and follows Detective Inspector Kip Glaspie, played by Carey Mulligan, as she investigates the seemingly random shooting of a pizza delivery driver in South London. Soon, Glaspie is knee-deep in the city’s criminal underworld, caught in a web of interconnected scandal and conspiracy.
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Netflix has some great classic British shows too. You can’t go wrong with iconic comedy troupe Monty Python’s surreal sketch comedy series, which ran on the BBC from 1969 to 1974. Revisit the Spanish Inquisition, the Ministry of Funny Walks, the Frenchmen, the Gumbys, and other classic comedy bits that preceded the hilarious films Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
The Stranger sees a family man growing obsessed with mysteries and secrets when a mysterious stranger approaches him with shocking revelations about his wife. Soon, the stranger is approaching others, sowing the seeds of destruction with secrets that threaten them and all those around them in this gripping miniseries, one of the best British crime shows on Netflix.
Canadian comedian Mae Martin co-created and stars in this delightful comedy series based in Manchester. Inspired by Martin’s own life in the UK, Feel Good follows a stand-up comic struggling with past addictions as she navigates a new relationship with a repressed, middle-class woman she met at one of her shows.
Fans of the supernatural will want to check out Crazyhead, in which two best friends tackle the things that go bump in the night in Bristol. One has psychic abilities that let her sniff out ghouls and beasties, and the other is a self-professed demon hunter. Together, they plan to keep the streets safe in this clever horror-comedy.
This BBC series, with a title that translates as “duty/shame,” takes place in Tokyo and London. Japanese detective Kenzo Mori searches London’s criminal underworld for his brother Yuto. Thought dead, Yuto may actually be on the run from the Yakuza, who think he murdered a member’s nephew, risking a massive gang war in this brilliant British crime show on Netflix.
Call the Midwife
This historical drama, based on the best-selling memoirs of Jennifer Worth, follows a midwife in 1950s East London. Assigned to a convent, midwife Jenny must adapt to her new surroundings, developing relationships with the community of nuns she lives and works with.
Downton Abbey may be the first show Americans think of when they think of British TV. The historical drama follows a wealthy family and their servants through the years at their Edwardian manor, Downton Abbey. The series opens just after the sinking of the Titanic as the family’s future is uncertain, and works through various historical events seen from the perspective of the inhabitants of Downton Abbey.
The End of the F***ing World
Based on the Charles Forsman comic book of the same name (albeit without the censored letters), The End of the F***ing World sees two teen misfits hitting the road together. Alyssa wants to find her estranged dad. James, who thinks he may be a psychopath, sees an opportunity to graduate from killing animals to, er, bigger prey. If you like your comedy pitch black, this British Netflix original may be for you.
The IT Crowd
Another older title, though a little more contemporary than Monty Python, The IT Crowd is among the best British shows on Netflix. Check out this hilarious sitcom, in which the employees of a London IT department do their level best to get the job done with as little effort as possible. If your account stops working while you watch, try turning it off and on again.
A British Army nurse in World War II finds herself transported back to 1743 during her honeymoon in Scotland. Now trapped in the past and fighting for her life, she marries a Scots warrior to navigate a hostile new environment in this swashbuckling romance based on the books by Diana Gabaldon. Like Bridgerton, Outlander was developed by an American, Ronald D. Moore, but it’s filmed in the UK and tells a distinctly British story.
Those are our top picks of the best British shows on Netflix across several genres. What are your favorite British shows on Netflix?