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10 Great British Miniseries to Binge

If you're at home right now looking for something to binge-watch, we've got your number. We're planning to post several articles about our favorite binge-worthy television shows. Here's our first.

I, CLAUDIUS (1976)

The BBC's absorbing retelling of the rise and fall of a Roman dynasty all seen through the eyes of Derek Jacobi’s stuttering Claudius.


Sir Alec Guinness gives the performance of his career as George Smiley in this gripping BBC adaptation of the John le Carré classic spy thriller. The follow-up, Smiley's People, is also worth seeing.


Based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh and starring Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews, this is the costume drama all costume dramas dream of being when they grow up.


Troy Kennedy Martin’s thriller stars the much missed Bob Peck as Ronald Craven, a Yorkshire policeman who, while trying to unravel the truth behind the murder of his daughter, stumbles upon a terrible secret involving Britain’s nuclear power industry.


Andrew Davies’ six part adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, which made Colin Firth and his damp white shirt a national icon, is the quintessential literary adaptation.


Peter Flannery’s brilliant drama chronicles the lives of four friends from Newcastle upon Tyne (Christopher Eccleston, Gina McKee, Daniel Craig and Mark Strong) from 1964 to 1995.


Directed by David Yates, written by Paul Abbott, and starring some of the best actors in the county, this six part thriller followed the newspaper investigation into the death of a politician’s mistress that is more than it seems to be.


Andrew Davies takes one of Charles Dickens' less well known works and turns it into a weekly soap starring, well, every living British actor, but it is Gillian Anderson who steals the show as the icy Lady Dedlock.


This three part adaptation of David Peace’s bleak Red Riding Quartet, starring Sean Bean, Andrew Garfield, Rebecca Hall, David Morrissey and more, will put you off from ever going to Yorkshire.


They said that Susanna Clarke’s mammoth novel about two rival magicians (Bertie Carvel and Eddie Marsan) in England at the beginning of the 19th century, was unfilmable. Writer Peter Harness and director Toby Haynes proved them wrong.


  1. Thank you, Mark. Several to add to my list.

    It's been awhile since I've seen it, but I remember loving Brideshead Revisited. And of course, Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite miniserieses, ever. Yum.

  2. OK, I know this is a little cheesy to add, and that I'm biased because I work there.


    If you're in the US and love any or all of the series, maybe consider making a small donation to your local public television station. They were my and many others first introduction to most of those titles, and many stations are currently losing a fair number of members due to financial strain

  3. I think 'I, Claudius' must be one of the best series ever made. Just brilliant.

  4. I would also add as a related suggestion the 1981 BBC radio dramatization of The Lord Of The Rings. Among others it stars Ian Holm(as Frodo this time) and Bill Nighy(I don't recognize his voice in it, but that's what the credits say) as Sam. It runs about 13 hours long, and it's terrific. The voice acting is excellent, and book fans might enjoy that it is more faithful an adaptation. Don't get me wrong, I love the movies and I think their version works very well on screen. But there are definitely some elements from the books that I missed that this radio drama kept in. No, there's still no Tom Bombadil. It was available on CD at one point, and you can probably still find it somewhere if you dig around.

  5. This is a good list! It gave me a bunch of new ones to check out and old ones to remember fondly, like Pride and Prejudice and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Thank you for writing this.

    I just wanted to add The Night Manager (2016) with Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Coleman, among others. It is also very good!

  6. Tinker, Tailor was the best thing I ever saw on public TV that wasn't Monty Python's Flying Circus.

  7. I guess Fleabag isnt' technically a miniseries, but both seasons are very short and the show is hilarious.


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