My Favorite British/BBC TV Shows }My Favorite Things

Favorite BBC TV Shows

One of the requests I received on my blog survey was to share with you some of my favorite things.  It has given me some pause to really consider what some of my favorite things are.

We are not big “toy” people at our house.  We don’t have the latest and greatest electronic gadgets.  In fact I joke that if someone were to break into our house they would be sorely disappointed.  We don’t even have a flat screen TV.  So you aren’t going to see any favorite electronic gadget posts here at Your Homebased Mom.   But I have started making a list.

One of the reasons we don’t have a fancy TV at our house is that we aren’t big TV watchers (o.k., so my  husband does watch a bit of sports but he is a total non-toy boy!  As long as he has a TV that works, he is happy.) I don’t watch any network TV (O.K. except for that cute Neil Caffrey on White Color)  but I do admit to having a weakness, “my one weakness”, and that is BBC/British TV.  I adore British television and today I want to share with you my list of favorite British/ BBC shows.

I have been a fan of British TV since I was young and began watching Upstairs, Downstairs when it first aired in 1971.  It was our Sunday night viewing pleasure.

Most of the  shows I have watched on Netflix or gotten on DVD from my local library.

Of course, like the rest of the world, I am a total Downton Abbey fan and have been since the very first season.  If you haven’t given into the craze yet you must give it a try but promise me you won’t judge the series by the first episode.  Be sure and at least watch two episodes before you make a judgement call.  The only thing I don’t like about British TV is how short the seasons are!  Can’t believe we have to wait until next January for more Downton Abbey.  Especially after what the season finale did to us!!!

Here is a list of my some of my other favorites BBC TV shows and mini-series:

Larkrise to Candleford is a delightful series set in the English countryside at the end of the 19th century.  It is the story of  the small hamlet of Lark Rise and the wealthier neighboring market town of Candleford.  After watching this show you will appreciate my comment of “my one weakness.”   There are four seasons.  You’ll also recognize someone from this series who is now in Downton Abbey!

Foyle’s War is set during World War II and is the story of Detective Foyle as he attempts to catch criminals who are taking advantage of the confusion the war has created.  Seven Seasons.

Miss Marple is the fictional character found in 12 of Agatha Christie’s detective novels. Miss Marple is an elderly spinster and amateur detective who lives in the English village of St. Mary Mead and seems to have people dying all around her. Six Seasons.

Monarch of the Glen is a modern day Downton Abbey.  The story of a Scottish family who are struggling to hold onto the family estate.   Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey is in this show and was actually writing the screenplay for Downton at the same time.  Seven Seasons.

Pie in the Sky  is a light hearted police drama about a detective that is also a chef and owns a restaurant called “Pie in the Sky.”  Loved the main character Henry Crabbe and the combination of police work and food!!  Five seasons.

Rosemary and Thyme  is the story of two women gardening detectives. It seems that on every gardening job they take on someone ends up dead in the garden!  The series is set in beautiful English and European gardens which made me love it even more.  They are middle age women who are both forced to reassess their life and they end up forming a partnership and friendship.  Three seasons.

Land Girls set during WWII this is about the Women’s Land Army. Women who wanted to serve their country during the war and went out into the country and worked on farms. Three seasons. ( I have only watched the first season)

Call the Midwives was a new season last year.  The story of newly qualified midwives living with the nuns of Nonnatus House, a nursing convent, coping with the medical problems in a deprived area of East London in the 1950s. One Season

Doc Martin  is acomedy/drama set in a small English seaside village.  A successful surgeon, Dr. Martin, develops a fear of blood and is forced to leave his London practice.  He settles in a seaside village as a GP where his  gruff, ill-mannered, and lack of social skills takes some getting use to by the villagers.  Five seasons with a sixth in the making.

BBC Mini-Series

The Grand  is an eight part mini-series The Grand, an hotel is closed for renovations following World War I, the hotel and its staff face financial ruin, foreclosure, suicide, and infidelity before even reopening its doors to guests in the first episode of the series. When it finally welcomes visitors, guests abound, but so does trouble. This story has everything a miniseries requires: suspense, social climbers, financial double-dealing, humor, murder, and semiretired prostitutes.

Other favorite mini-series:North and South, Wives and Daughters, of course Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights

Would love to hear what your favorite ones are!  Please leave me a comment and let me know.












Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

Latest posts by Leigh Anne (see all)


  1. Beth says

    Try Kingdom, with Stephen Fry! It’s really fun. And not to nitpick, but it’s British TV, not BBC TV… Some of those shows, such as Downton, are made by ITV, not BBC:)
    Love the blog!

  2. Cindy Cheney says

    I too only watch “Channel 10” and have many of the same favorites that you do – Downton Abbey (waiting between seasons was agony!), Miss Marple, Call the Midwife, Larkrise, and Foyle’s war. I am very fond of productions of Charles Dicken’s as well. I loved that my two teenagers would look forward to Poirot with me on Sunday nights. My other favorite is Cranford – if you haven’t seen it you should check it out.

  3. Cindy Cheney says

    I forgot to add a thank you for mentioning some favorites of yours that I have never even heard of. I am a sporadic viewer, so I missed many of those. I can’t wait to see them (Netflix?)

  4. Linda Gerig says

    I watched some of ones you do. I also liked London Hospital , Upstairs Downstairs newer one, and am watching Berkeley Square. Am anxious to look for other ones you mentioned. Linda Gerig from Mi

  5. says

    Oh how I love TV!!!! Lark rise to candleford was so great! It made me want buy a small shop of some sort! I just started watching Bramwell it looks to be pretty good!

  6. Alison L says

    This post has made me so happy! I LOVE Downton Abby, Larkrise to Candleford, Wives and Daughters, anything “Austen”, Little Dorrit (Charle Dickons), the new Upstairs Downstairs (I haven’t seen the 1970’s version) and Cranford, to name a few. But, your list is filled with many I have never heard of and I am so excited to watch these! Now I think I need to get Netflix. Thanks for all the great recommendations.

  7. Valerie A. H. says

    You have named all my favorites. I haven’t seen a couple of your choices though. Monarch of the Glen sounds really good. My favorite vesions of some of the series you mentioned are: BBC Sense & Sensibility (Dan Stevens, Hatie Morahan. Adapted by Andrew Davies), BBC Emma
    (Romola Garai), and all time favorite – Pride & Prejudice directed by Joe Wright (Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen). Can’t wait for next season of Downton Abbey. Poor Mary!!

      • Valerie A. H. says

        I own them too along with other versions. Living in a house full of males, I need my girlie movie fix to watch at times. I own Lark Rise to Candleford, Jane Eyre (not my favorite though) and movies like those. When you have a post about regular movies (not series), I’ll comment on my favorites on those. Thanks for listing your favs. :-)

  8. Suzanne says

    What a fun “Favorite Things” list!! Not only are we getting your favorite BBC shows, but have the added benefit of knowing your readers’ favorites also. So I’ll add my latest to the list:
    It’s based on a true story of Jennifer Worth helping the under-privileged East End Londoners during the 1950s. It’s short, (6 episodes). Like so many BBC series, you are attached to the characters by the end and hate to see the series end. It also introduced me also to Miranda Hart, a very funny British comedic.

  9. Julie Barnson says

    Doctor Who is a major passion at my geeky sci fi/ fantasy house!!! At my house, you can’t say British Television without mentioning Dr. Who!!!

    We also love to laugh at Black Adder. This is an older British Comedy that had us in stitches.

  10. Dee says

    I have watched nearly all of these shows only on PBS stations. Started Masterpiece Theater way back — before Monarch of the Glen.
    I wanted to give Julian Fellows a piece of my mind after the last episode of Downton Abby. I was that upset! Oh dear — !
    I am going to checkk out Pie in the Sky — thanks for that.

  11. says

    I just finished up with a top 10 favorites series on my blog too! One of them was top 10 movies to knit by and you won’t be surprised to know that I chose some of the ones that you chose! I’m glad you added Monarch of the Glen, I was surprised to learn that not a lot of Americans knew about that gem.

  12. says

    I left my favorites for you on your Facebook page, but forgot to mention London Hospital. I really liked this show and was sad to hear that it was only 3 seasons. I’m waiting for Call of the Midwife to go on Amazon Prime as I hate to pay for each episode.

  13. Marnie says

    What a fun list! You’ve mentioned most of my favorites but I have another that totally cracks me up.. Waiting For God. Other people I have suggested it to have either adored it or hated it.. Its about a retirement home with a lovely assortment of characters including a totally irascible old lady, former war correspondent, who does not suffer fools gladly. She is, of course, surrounded by them. Give this one a try!

  14. says

    I haven’t been watching British television for long. I love Downton Abbey, of course. But I really, really love the new BBC Sherlock. Way better than any other version of Sherlock Holmes I’ve seen.

  15. says

    I’m so happy to add more British series to my list! I absolutely adore them. I also don’t watch network, except (there’s always an “except”!) Fringe, now off the air, and a couple others.

    I love William and Mary. It has Martin Clunes, from Doc Martin, in a totally different role. It’s a great series about a funeral director and a midwife who meet on an arranged date. And from there it’s up to you to find out!

  16. Kim says

    Thanks so much for the suggestions. My husband and I really like British TV and enjoy Miss Marple and Foyle’s War. We also like Poirot, Midsomer Murders and Murder in Surburbia. Netflix has introduced us to many great British shows. We are going to try your suggestions. Thanks again.

  17. Sue says

    I have now watched all four seasons of Lark Rise to Candleford, based on your recommendation. How wonderful they were! I also enjoy Poirot, Miss Marple, Foyles War, and most all of the others you mentioned. Cranford and Return to Cranford stars Judi Dench – wonderful, wonderful. Our absolute favorite is Keeping Up Appearances – I think there are 8 seasons. It’s the story of a social climbing woman, with the nicest, long-suffering husband who has three sisters. All four are named after flowers. The second actress to play the sister named Rose is much better than the first one. The episodes get funnier and funnier. Thanks for writing about some quality television shows. I agree, Julian showed get a piece of all of our minds!

  18. Lynne T says

    I love, love bbc stuff. Have you tried the show Mary & William? The actor that plays Doc Martin plays William in this show. I am finding that every Saturday evening we tend to watch PBS Channel that has all the above mentioned bbc shows. So much better than the garbage that is on regular TV.

  19. Brittany C. says

    My absolute favorite show on BBC is Top Gear. Oh my goodness! Crazy good, clean entertainment, it will have you rolling! It’s not even close to being in the same genre of any of the shows you listed, it being a car show, but do not let that sway you from watching it. I am way not into cars, at all, and Top Gear is one of my all-time favorite TV shows.

  20. Sharon says

    I love British TV too. I will check out the ones you’ve listed. I love Midsomer Murders, Cadfael, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates and Keeping Up Appearances.

  21. boswell0617 says

    Don’t forget Midsomer Murders. Can not say how much I love, love , love that show!! Also Cranford is awesome!

  22. Joshua Thayer says

    Thanks to Netflix I have now become obsessed with British television. Started out with Faulty Towers moved on to Foyle’s War (my favorite after Downton Abbey) then discovered Kingdom (and the loveable Stephen Frye), Midsomer Muders was so good I watched the series three times through! Keeping up Appearances was hilarious. Currently on Monarch of the Glen, which is quite fantastic (save for the fact that all the characters slowly depart the show). Inspector Morse was great. Wallander was great. Miss Marple is great. The Vicar of Dibley was rather amusing. Doc Martin was fantastic. Poirot is next on my list.

    A few things available on Netflix worth mentioning: The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But came Down a Mountain,The It Crowd, George Gently, The Trip, The Angel’s Share, The RUnway, Waking Ned Divine, Kon Tiki (Scandanavian), The Intouchables (Frencg but brilliant), Spiral (French but brilliant) and Haute Cuisine (French but brilliant).

    Thanks for a great blog!

    • says

      Thanks for the awesome list! I have watched many of them but you have given me many more to check out I am currently watching Born and Bred – have to watch it on You Tube but it is great!

  23. Ken M says

    Thanks kindly for this wonderful web site. Just finished with Monarch of Glen, now starting on Ballykissangel which is very good, love the setting and story. As I enjoyed all the Jane Austen as well as Jane Eyre with 2006 with Ruth Wilson. another Jane Austen came out this last Dec 2013. 3 part mini series. Not sure it is on Netflixs yet? Called
    Death Comes to Pemberley with Matthew Rhys and Anna Maxwell Martin. Anna was excellent in it. Was a wonderful story as well with lots of twists n turns.
    Have a great day..

  24. Royalmomness says

    I was so sad when I watched the last season of Lark Rise to Candleford! That was by far my favorite probably due to the grown up Little House on the Prairiesque similarity (the dress shop ladies were Nelly Olsen all grown up!) I enjoyed The Paradise which was on this winter. Much like Downton Abbey, I will have to wait a while for the next season. As I get older, when too much time passes between the seasons, I forget what happened. I almost need cliff notes to remember the plot line!! Check our Daniel Daronda on Netflix. Another great series along the lines of Sense and Sensibilty.

  25. Tina says

    I married a Brit in 1984 and have been hooked on Brit TV ever since. I had not heard of Born and Bred before. Just finished it tonight. I really enjoyed it! I’ve seen all the others that have been mentioned. Another brilliant series is Jam and Jerusalem. There are three seasons and they can be watched on YouTube. Dawn French is awesome in this!

  26. says

    I found “Jonathan Creek” a few weeks ago. Its just a charming series from the 90s (till now). Sometimes a little bit over the top, but the first two seasons are really special. I fell in love with the two main charachters.

  27. selena says

    The Grand Hotel (not the Grand) is a wonderful Downton Abbey style show from Spain. It’s on Netflix and if you don’t mind reading subtitles, it’s WONDERFUL.

  28. Polly says

    May I recommend a subscription to ACORN TV? For 4.99 a month you can have all the best British and Australian! We love Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Oh, Detective Inspector Jack Robinson! Acorn is better than waiting for Netflix to get the latest series of a show. We have subscriptions to both and find ourselves watching Acorn much more. We use a Roku device, but you can watch on your computer, too

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