The Best British Movies & Series on Netflix in 2020

The British Isles are small bunch of green and pleasant rocks just off the coast of mainland Europe. The British Isles punch above their weight in many areas. Sport, shop-keeping, alcohol consumption per capita, stodgy food, sarcasm, poor teeth and, of course, entertainment. Theatreland in London rivals Broadway in New York. We can’t do the live experience here but we’ve selected 50 films and TV shows that are quintessentially British that we think you’ll enjoy. This is just a sample, not a comprehensive list. And, to avoid controversy, they’re listed in alphabetical order. Let us know what you think.

After Life – 2019

Media TV
Genre Comedy
Starring Ricky Gervais, Tom Basden, Tony Way, Diane Morgan

Struggling to come to terms with his wife’s death, a writer for a newspaper adopts a gruff new persona in an effort to push away those trying to help.


Bodyguard – 2018

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Richard Madden, Keeley Hawes, Gina McKee, Sophie Rundle

After helping thwart a terrorist attack, a war veteran is assigned to protect a politician who was a main proponent of the very conflict he fought in.


Broadchurch – 2013

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Andrew Buchan, Jodie Whittaker

After a young boy is murdered in the small seaside town of Broadchurch, local detectives Ellie Miller and Alec Hardy are assigned the mysterious case.


Call the Midwife – 2012

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Vanessa Redgrave, Bryony Hannah, Helen George, Jenny Agutter

This period drama set in impoverished East London in the 1950s follows a newly qualified midwife and her colleagues at a nursing convent.


Collateral – 2018

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Carey Mulligan, John Simm, Nicola Walker, Billie Piper

Investigating the murder of a pizza delivery man, a London detective uncovers a tangled conspiracy involving drug dealers, smugglers and spies.


Conspiracy – 2015

Media TV
Genre Documentary
Starring Mark Bazeley

Skeptics and others discuss widely held conspiracy theories involving aliens, government cover-ups, secret assassinations and other intrigues.


Crashing – 2016

Media TV
Genre Comedy
Starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jonathan Bailey, Adrian Scarborough, Damien Molony

In exchange for low rent, a hodgepodge group of 20-something tenants set up residence as property guards in a disused hospital, where hilarity ensues.


Criminal United Kingdom – 2019

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Katherine Kelly, Lee Ingleby, Mark Stanley, Rochenda Sandall

Within the walls of an interrogation room and with time running out, London investigators go after three suspects, each accused of a grievous crime.


Cuckoo – 2012

Media TV
Genre Comedy
Starring Greg Davies, Taylor Lautner, Andie MacDowell, Andy Samberg

Rachel shocks her proper British parents when she marries an American hippie, but it’s just the first in a series of surprises for the family.


Derry Girls – 2018

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Nicola Coughlan, Louisa Harland, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell

Amidst the political conflict of Northern Ireland in the 1990s, five high school students square off with the universal challenges of being a teenager.


Doctor Foster – 2015

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Suranne Jones, Bertie Carvel, Clare-Hope Ashitey, Cheryl Campbell

When she suspects her husband is cheating on her, Dr. Gemma Foster starts an investigation that leads her down a dark path of obsession.


Elizabeth – The Golden Age – 2007

Media MOVIE
Genre Drama
Directed by Shekhar Kapur
Starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Clive Owen, Rhys Ifans

Queen Elizabeth steels herself against invasion, treason and betrayal as she pines for the love of swashbuckling adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh.


Extras – 2005

Media TV
Genre Comedy
Starring Ricky Gervais, Ashley Jensen, Stephen Merchant, Shaun Williamson

Grasping hungrily for stardom, bit actor Andy Millman and his pal Maggie spend their days chasing after work as film and TV extras.


Fake or Fortune – 2010

Media TV
Genre Documentary
Starring Fiona Bruce, Philip Mould, Bendor Grosvenor

Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould use investigative skills and scientific techniques to determine if paintings are real or just impressive forgeries.


Father Brown – 2013

Media TV
Genre Comedy
Directed by Ian Barber
Starring Mark Williams, Sorcha Cusack, Nancy Carroll, Alex Price

A modest, compassionate priest doubles as an effective crime solver in this series based on the short stories by G.K. Chesterton.


Hinterland – 2013

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Richard Harrington, Mali Harries, Hannah Daniel, Alex Harries

Forsaking London for the rustic landscapes of Wales, a police detective with a troubled soul finds himself in a place with secrets as dark as his own.


Howards End – 1992

Media MOVIE
Genre Drama
Directed by James Ivory
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter, Emma Thompson

When a husband, acting in his family’s “best interest,” does not accept his wife’s deathbed wish, providence dictates that he pay for his duplicity.


James Acaster Repertoire – 2018

Media TV
Genre Comedy
Directed by Dan Lucchesi
Starring James Acaster

Offbeat comic James Acaster covers the strange, the mundane and everything in between in this collection of four wide-ranging stand-up specials.


Land Girls – 2009

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Becci Gemmell, Susan Cookson, Mark Benton, Mykola Allen

Follow the lives, loves, highs and lows of four members of the Women’s Land Army who are working at the Hoxley Estate during WWII.


Last Tango in Halifax – 2012

Media TV
Genre Comedy
Directed by Juliet May
Starring Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid, Sarah Lancashire, Nicola Walker

Two widowed childhood sweethearts fall for each other all over again when they are reunited over the Internet after nearly 60 years.


Life of Brian – 1979

Media MOVIE
Genre Comedy
Directed by Terry Jones
Starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle

Born in a stable in Judea, Brian grows up to join a group of anti-Roman zealots, but his fate keeps getting confused with that of a certain carpenter.


London Spy – 2015

Media TV
Genre Drama
Directed by Jakob Verbruggen
Starring Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent, Edward Holcroft, Samantha Spiro

When his reclusive-banker lover disappears, a hard-partying young British hedonist plunges into the dangerous world of espionage to find the truth.


Mansfield Park – 1999

Media MOVIE
Genre Drama
Directed by Patricia Rozema
Starring Frances O’Connor, Embeth Davidtz, Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola

A poor heroine is sent to live with wealthy relatives in 1800s England, where her wit and writing talent find the room, and circumstance, to grow.


Murder Detectives – 2015

Media TV
Genre Documentary

This series tracks the ups and downs of an 18-month investigation into the 2014 stabbing murder of teenager Nicholas Robinson in Bristol, England.


North & South – 2004

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Daniela Denby-Ashe, Richard Armitage, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sinéad Cusack

When her father moves his family to an industrial mill town, the parson’s daughter, Margaret Hale, struggles to adapt to her harsh new surroundings.


Paranoid – 2016

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Indira Varma, Robert Glenister, Dino Fetscher, Neil Stuke

When a woman is brutally murdered on a playground, a group of detectives find themselves drawn into a dark conspiracy as they search for the killer.


Peaky Blinders – 2013

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson

A notorious gang in 1919 Birmingham, England, is led by the fierce Tommy Shelby, a crime boss set on moving up in the world no matter the cost.


Ripper Street – 2013

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn, Adam Rothenberg, David Wilmot

It’s been six months since the last Jack the Ripper killing, and East London is hopeful that his reign of terror might have run its course.


Safe – 2018

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Michael C. Hall, Amanda Abbington, Marc Warren, Hannah Arterton

After his teenage daughter goes missing, a widowed surgeon in an affluent neighborhood begins unearthing dark secrets about the people closest to him.


Sherlock – 2010

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves

In this updated take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved mystery tales, the eccentric sleuth prowls the streets of modern London in search of clues.


Still Game – 2002

Media TV
Genre Comedy
Starring Ford Kiernan, Greg Hemphill, Paul Riley, Jane McCarry

Scottish pensioners Jack and Victor make the most of their golden years, getting themselves into all kinds of scrapes in their Glasgow suburb.


The Crown – 2016

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter, Tobias Menzies, Claire Foy

This drama follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century.


The Duchess – 2008

Media MOVIE
Genre Drama
Directed by Saul Dibb
Starring Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Charlotte Rampling, Dominic Cooper

To compensate for her unhappy marriage, young duchess Georgiana Spencer begins a scandalous affair with politician Charles Grey.


The Exception – 2016

Media MOVIE
Genre Drama
Directed by David Leveaux
Starring Lily James, Jai Courtney, Christopher Plummer, Janet McTeer

During World War II, a Nazi officer charged with protecting an exiled Kaiser Wilhelm II from spies begins a steamy affair with a secretive Dutch maid.


The Fear – 2012

Media TV
Genre Drama
Directed by Michael Samuels
Starring Peter Mullan, Anastasia Hille, Harry Lloyd, Paul Nicholls

Richie Beckett is an aging Brighton crime boss who’s struggling with the onset of dementia, just as a rival gang is trying to take over his territory.


The Five – 2016

Media TV
Genre Drama
Directed by Mark Tonderai
Starring Tom Cullen, O.T. Fagbenle, Lee Ingleby, Sarah Solemani

Twenty years after 5-year-old Jesse disappears near his home, his DNA turns up at the scene of a woman’s murder, baffling his family and the police.


The Great British Baking Show – 2010

Media TV
Genre Documentary
Starring Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding

A talented batch of amateur bakers face off in a 10-week competition, whipping up their best dishes in the hopes of being named the U.K.’s best.


The Inbetweeners – 2008

Media TV
Genre Comedy
Starring Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Joe Thomas

This rib-tickling series follows four English lads as they try — and fail spectacularly — to navigate the wretched no-man’s land of adolescence.


The Invention Of Lying – 2009

Media TV
Genre Comedy
Directed by Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson
Starring Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K.

In a world where no one fibs, a screenwriter gains fame and fortune — and maybe the girl of his dreams — by saying things that aren’t true.


The Investigator – 2016

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Mark Williams-Thomas, Rick Warden, Frances Millar, Tanya Winsor

After 40 years of inconclusive evidence, renowned criminologist Mark Williams-Thomas re-examines a string of mysterious murders.


The Kings Speech – 2010

Media MOVIE
Genre Drama
Directed by Tom Hooper
Starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce

During a tense period in history, King George VI struggles to communicate to the public and seeks help from speech therapist Lionel Logue.


The Repair Shop – 2017

Media TV
Genre Documentary

Expert artisans restore timeworn family heirlooms with touching sentimental value while also uncovering their uniquely rich histories.


The Tudors – 2007

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, James Frain, Anthony Brophy

All the splendor and scandal of England’s 16th-century royal court comes to life in this series that follows notorious Tudor monarch Henry VIII.


The Two Popes – 2019

Media MOVIE
Genre Drama
Directed by Fernando Meirelles
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce, Juan Minujín

At a key turning point for the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI forms a surprising friendship with the future Pope Francis. Inspired by true events.


The Wicker Man – 1973

Media MOVIE
Genre Drama
Directed by Robin Hardy
Starring Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento

Pious detective Neil Howie gets more than he bargained for when he probes a young girl’s disappearance in this harrowing psychological thriller.


The Windsors – 2016

Media TV
Genre Documentary
Starring Harry Enfield, Haydn Gwynne, Hugh Skinner, Louise Ford

The all-too-public trials and tribulations of England’s royal family are reimagined as an over-the-top comedic soap opera.


Traitors – 2019

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Emma Appleton, Michael Stuhlbarg, Luke Treadaway, Keeley Hawes

As World War II ends, a young English woman agrees to help an enigmatic American agent root out Russian infiltration of the British government.


Travels with my Father – 2017

Media TV
Genre Comedy
Starring Jack Whitehall, Michael Whitehall

Jovial comic Jack Whitehall and his stuffy father, Michael, take unusual and amusing trips to foreign lands in an attempt to strengthen their bond.


Unbelievable – 2019

Media TV
Genre Drama
Starring Toni Collette, Merritt Wever, Kaitlyn Dever, Dale Dickey

After a young woman is accused of lying about a rape, two female detectives investigate a spate of eerily similar attacks. Inspired by true events.


W1A – 2014

Media TV
Genre Comedy
Starring Hugh Bonneville, Monica Dolan, Jessica Hynes, Rufus Jones

The new Head of Values at the BBC deals with redefining the company’s purpose, events like the arrival of Prince Charles and issues with new programs.