If You Like Downton Abbey Watch These: 23 suggestions for great historial drama tv shows or mini series for any fan of Downton Abbey to enjoy.
If you like Downton Abbey, watch any of these historical dramas. I’ve put to together and updated list, so be sure to scroll to the bottom to see the newer suggests and all 23 suggestions for things to watch if you liked Downton Abbey.
We had a good long run, we loved them, watched them struggle and succeed, they found love and lost it, were framed, set free, involved in coverups, and scandal, they lived and died and married and divorced, and did it all in beautiful costumes! And all of this we watched. And now they’re gone, after 6 wonderful seasons together.
We miss Downton Abbey, and we’ve got a Sunday night tv hole in our hearts to fill.
If You Like Downton Abbey Watch These:
I love a good historical drama, so I’ve come up with a little list of shows to watch if you like Downton Abbey. I think you might like these historical dramas; some are earlier, some are later, some are old, some are new, some are good, and some are really good. I’ve watched all of these over the years and enjoyed them, and I hope you’ll like some too.
1. Mr. Selfridge
This series begins in London in 1910 and is the story of Mr. Selfridge, an American business man who runs an amazing department store, revolutionizing shopping and turning it into a leisure activity. The series is full of drama, scandal, and romance and is based on a true story.
2. The Paradise
Very similar to Mr. Selfridge this is a fictional story of a department store and the lives of the employees. Set in the late 1800’s in London. I didn’t like this one quite as much as Mr. Selfridge, found it a little slower paced, but it is a nice historical drama filled with great costumes and stories of forbidden love.
3. Call the Midwife
You probably know this one already, but if by chance you don’t, you should. It’s the story of midwives and nuns in the poor part of London in the 1950’s. The stories are heart wrenching, so you might need some kleenex, along with your popcorn. It’s so good, the stories explore the best and the worst of the time, the tough choices people had to make, or when they didn’t have enough choices. It will make you feel grateful to live today, but also a little nostalgic for a time and place when babies were delivered by girls who wore capes and arrived on bicycles. One of my very favourite shows.
4. Mad Men
Ok, I had to throw this one in here….not much like Downton, but I find it so interesting to think that Mad Men and Call the Midwife are happening about the same time, since the experiences of the people are so different. England vs. New York, rich vs. poor. I have to say I really enjoyed this series, you seem to love it or hate though. It did take me quite a few episodes to get into it, but once I was, I was hooked and spent many a Sunday night with Don Draper.
5. The Indian Doctor
Set in 1950’s rural England, this is the story of Prim, the Indian doctor and how he tried to fit in to and serve a small Cornish town. Season 2 was the best. Kind of slow paced at times, but a nice story, and if you like the 50’s and 60’s time period, you might like this one.
6. Indian Summers
This one is set in the 1930’s in India, during the last days of Colonial rule. You get to see the strange life built by the British as they interacted with the Indians they ruled over, in the midst of the heat, and racism of the day. A good series, I hope they make another season. I really liked the costumes and the beautiful setting. Lots of romance -often in the form of forbidden love, and scandal mixed in to keep it interesting.
7. A Place To Call Home
This series is set just after WW2 in the late 1940’s, this time in Australia -I really am loving Austrian TV these days. It’s the story of a nurse who’s Jewish, and a widow, and how she comes home to Australia to start a new life. She gets involved with a rich family -Lord’s of the village in an earlier era, but doesn’t exactly fit in. It’s not my very favourite historical drama, but there are some great twists and turns, and those great Aussie accents to enjoy!
This is another great British series. It’s originally set in 1945 in England, just after the war. Claire, a combat nurse, has reunited with her husband a doctor, after they both served separately in the war. During the first episode, Claire accidentally time travels back to 1743. The show is full of drama, romance and nail biting action as Claire tries to work out how to get back to her own time -but in the process develops a life for herself in the past. Keep in mind this series should be rated R for sex, and quite disturbing violence, so it’s not for everyone. The series is based on novels, and there’s more to come. There has been one seasons so far, and season two starts in April.
I love this one, and can’t wait for season two. The story is set in Cornwall, England, in the 18th century. Poldark has just returned from fighting in the American Revolution. His father is dead and estate is in a shambles. The story is about how he rebuilds his life. It’s full of romance and drama, and pretty dresses and the social issues of the day. I really liked it. It’s based on a novel series. I’m not much of a reader…like I say, I read the movie, or in this case the show. Looking forward to season two. If this list was in order of preference this one would be very near the top.
10. The Whtie Queen
We’re going back to the War of the Roses for this one. This is a tv mini series, from the BBC, and also based on a series of novels. It’s set in 15th century England and tells of the struggle for the throne, featuring the lives of three different women. My sweet husband found and borrowed this series from the library for me to ease the pain of our 9 hour each way drive during our recent vacation. I really enjoyed it. It’s full of drama, romance, beautiful costumes, strong women and even a little magic.
11. The Tudors
This is an older series (2007), and follows the reign of King Henry the VIII in the 1500’s. It’s another BBC production. The customs, and lifestyle are fascinating. The drama, romance, sex, religion, scheming, and murder make this a series that will have you hooked. If you like this very early time period, this is a great series.
12. Cranford and Return to Cranford
Set in 1840’s England, it’s the story of a group of ladies who live in Cranford and their comings and goings. It’s older (2007) and not fast paced but I include it because of Judi Dench, and the BBC, and a time when life was all about marrying someone with the right income, and wearing a pretty bonnet. Certainly a nice way to spend a few evenings with a cup of tea.
13. Berkley Square
The story of several London nannies in 1902 who live and work in Berekley Square. There’s the usual servant verses upper class employers drama, especially since the nannies spend more time with the upper class children than the parents do. This show also highlights the struggles of working class girls without many choices at the time, and how they struggle along with love, romance, and relationships. It’s an older show, made in 1998, and only one season unfortunately, but a good one, and it will have you thinking of Marry Poppins as you see the nannies in their dark coats and little hats.
14. Upstairs Downstairs
There was a version of this show in the 1970’s, but it was recently remade in 2010-2012. Unfortunately they only made two new seasons, but I quite liked it. In keeping with the popularity of Downton Abbey it’s the story of the the rich upstairs and the servants downstairs in a London townhouse in 1936. This story has all the usual drama of love, forbidden romance, and secrets, but has an added layer of political drama since it’s set on the verge of WWII.
Updated: A few new additions since I originally wrote this post. These new historical fictions are great, and I’m pretty sure you’ll love them too.
Victoria depicts the reign of Queen Victoria. It begins with her coming to the throne, and falling in love with Albert. There are 3 seasons so far depicting Queen Victoria’s life up to the birth of her 6th. More to come. Sure to give you a better appreciation for all things victorian.
16. The Durrels
This is another British historical drama, but is also quite funny. It’s sweet and charming and easy to watch. The Durrels are a British family of mother, 3 sons and 1 daughter who decided to move to the Greek island of Corfu. The show takes place between 1935-39 and follows their adventures with love, life, animals, being foreigners, having no money, and life on Curfu. I loved it and was sad when it ended.
17. The English Game
Created by Julian Fellowes who also created Downton Abbey, this new Netflix mini series is the story of the rise of football (soccer) and how it progressed from a gentleman’s game to everyones favourite regardless of class. Stories of struggle in love, life, and finances for the rich and the poor of that time. Hopefully there are more seasons to come.
18. Peaky Blinders
This series is set in Birmingham England and follows the Shelby family in the time period between the world wars. It’s the violent, dramatic, emotional, funny, inspiring, tragic story of a ganster family and their rise to power. It’s so good. I’m looking forward to the last season coming soon.
19. The Crown
The Crown is much more recent history but so good. It follows the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. We meet a young Elizabeth and follow the story of her marriage, her father’s death, and her coronation. There are 3 seasons so far, and season 4 takes on events that many of us remember well.
20. Anne With An E
It might be because I’m a Canadian, but this one based on the classic Anne of Green Gables is very good. Some feel it takes too many liberties with the original, weaving in more up to date issues, but I like that it’s a bit more edgy, and even has a little darkness in it. Great one to watch with the family. Sadly it was recently cancelled so only 3 seasons to enjoy.
21. Gentleman Jack
Gentleman Jack is based on the real diary entries of Anne Lister and her struggle to save her ancestral home in 1832 England as a lesbian in a very different time than ours. We watch her relationship and business struggles in a time when her lifestyle choices had to be written about in code in order to protect her from potential harm. One season so far, and more to come.
22. Black Sails
This one is a pirate show, full of pirating and running form the law, violence, love stories, betrayal, sex, high ideals, and humour. There are 4 seasons to bing watch, while drinking rum and talking like a pirate. ;). I loved the ending of the story too. Created as a prequel to Treasure Island.
23. Downton Abbey Movie
And last but not least, if you like Downton Abbey watch the Downton Abby movie, you’ll love it. It’s got all our old favourite characters, and the next story in the lives of each of them. It’s like having a catch up with old friends. And it’s ending certainly leaves room for another movie…. we’ll see. 😉
There’s so many ways to watch television now that any of these should be pretty easy to find, between Netflix, AppleTV, Amazon TV… or even your local library for some of the older ones. These are nearly all television shows or mini series, but I could write another whole list of movies.
If you like Downton Abbey watch any of these historical dramas. Enjoy, bing away, and please let me know in the comments below if there’s any I’ve missed that you love.
With a perfect historical drama tv show to enjoy, life really is a party!
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