The 15 Best British Shows on Netflix Right Now

Keep calm and stream on!

Whether you're a committed Anglophile or just looking for some fresh new series to binge, British TV on Netflix offers a ton of shows for every taste. From long-running classics to one-season wonders, here are the best British shows on Netflix right now.

All shows on this listed are available on Netflix in the U.S. They may not be available on Netflix in other countries.

01
of 15

Best Dystopia: Black Mirror

Black Mirror promotional photo

IMDB

  • IMDb rating: 8.8
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Starring: Michaela Coel, Daniel Kaluuya, Hayley Atwell, Jon Hamm, Bryce Dallas Howard
  • Created By: Charlie Brooker
  • TV Rating: TV-MA
  • Number of Seasons: 5

Whether you're worried about the effects of technology on the world, or just like a good science fiction anthology, there's no better SF showcase on TV than Black Mirror. The series started out in the UK and then transitioned to Netflix, which has commissioned the creation of multiple new, star-studded seasons and attention-grabbing stunts like the choose-your-own-adventure episode "Bandersnatch," in which the viewer controls the main character and the outcome of the story.

02
of 15

Best Spy Thriller: Bodyguard

Bodyguard promotional image

IMDB

  • IMDb rating: 8.1
  • Genre: Spy Thriller
  • Starring: Keeley Hawes, Richard Madden
  • Created By: Jed Mercurio
  • TV Rating: TV-MA
  • Number of Seasons: 1

When former soldier and current security officer David Budd (Game of Thrones' Richard Madden) stops a terrorist attack on a commuter train, he receives a new opportunity: guarding a controversial government minister (Keeley Hawes). Thrown into a world of intrigue and wide-ranging conspiracy, he must unravel a mystery, protect the minister, and try to reconcile with his estranged wife over the course of 5 heart-stopping episodes.

03
of 15

Best Police Procedural: Broadchurch

Broadchurch promotional photo

IMDB

  • IMDb rating: 8.4
  • Genre: Crime
  • Starring: David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker
  • Created By: Chris Chibnall
  • TV Rating: TV-MA
  • Number of Seasons:

Broadchurch takes Twin Peaks' small-town-with-a-hidden-side and perfects it across three seasons (of which the second falters a bit; the first is a stone-cold classic). In the first season, a local copper played by the ubiquitous and always-excellent Colman is joined by a big-city office (Tennant) to investigate the murder of a local child. A twisty, lived-in thriller that will keep you at the edge of your seat and guessing whodunit the entire time, mystery fans can't find much better on Netflix or anywhere else.

04
of 15

Best Long-Running Drama: Call the Midwife

Call the Midwife promotional image

Laurence Cendrowicz / Neal Street Productions

  • IMDb rating: 8.4
  • Genre: Drama
  • Starring: Vanessa Redgrave, Laura Main, Jenny Agutter
  • Created By: Heidi Thomas 
  • TV Rating: TV-PG
  • Number of Seasons: 11

This long-running and award-winning series follows the work and lives of a group of nurse-midwives in East London in the 1950s and 1960s. Based on the memoirs of midwife Jennifer Worth, the show has run for 11 series, with annual Christmas specials added in. A drama that tackles social issues amidst the personal and professional lives of its midwives, the series has been one of the BBC's biggest hits in the 2000s.

05
of 15

Best Dramedy: Crashing

Crashing promotional photo

Channel 4

  • IMDb rating: 7.7
  • Genre: Dramedy
  • Starring: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Damien Molony, Julie Dray
  • Created By: Phoebe Waller-Bridge
  • TV Rating: TV-MA
  • Number of Seasons: 1

Before Fleabag and the hot priest, before Killing Eve and James Bond, Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote and starred in this one-season dramedy about a mismatched group of friends living in short-term apartments in a disused hospital. When Waller-Bridge's character Lulu joins the group, she upends the relationships of the residents, most notably her long-time friend, and sometime-crush, the already-engaged Anthony (played by Damien Molony). Funny, heartbreaking, and complex, Crashing will satisfy Fleabag fans looking for more of Waller-Bridge's unique voice.

06
of 15

Best Irish Comedy: Derry Girls

Derry Girls promotional photo

IMDB

  • IMDb rating: 8.4
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Starring: Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan
  • Created By: Lisa McGee
  • TV Rating: TV-MA
  • Number of Seasons: 2

Some with Irish ancestors might have a bone to pick for putting this Irish show on a British TV list, especially given the subject matter, but we'll take the heat for a show this good and this funny. Set in Derry, Ireland, in the 1990s, just as "The Troubles" are coming to an end, Derry Girls follows a group of friends and family trying to grow up and make their way through the normal teenage drama, oh, and the decades-long sectarian violence that ravaged Derry. Not the typical backdrop for a comedy, of course, but that makes it all the more effective. An excellent, hilarious show.

07
of 15

Best Historical Drama: Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey promotional photo

IMDB

  • IMDb rating: 8.7
  • Genre: Historical Drama
  • Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith
  • Created By: Julian Fellowes
  • TV Rating: TV-PG
  • Number of Seasons: 6

Perhaps the show that started American's recent booming interest in British TV, Downton Abbey focused on the Crawley family, their social sphere, and the many servants that all live and work in the titular manor house. A combination of social drama, historical epic, soap opera, and romance, Downton has plots and characters for any viewer and even returned for a movie after the series concluded. Alas, the movie is not on Netflix.

08
of 15

Best Cookoff: The Great British Baking Show

Great British Baking Show promotional image

IMDB

  • IMDb rating: 8.5
  • Genre: Reality
  • Starring: Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, Noel Fiedling
  • Created By: various
  • TV Rating: TV-PG
  • Number of Seasons: 11

Sick of the cutthroat and toxic reality TV and competition shows that clutter the airways (and streaming services like Netflix)? The Great British Baking Show (nee The Great British Bakeoff in the UK) is the perfect palate cleanser. There's no more heart-warming competition show, in which everyone is nice to each other, participants often help struggling competitors, and roving comedians offer as much moral support as they do jokes. Each season takes competitors through a series of baking challenges, some focused on style and design, others on just baking something that tastes amazing, until a winner is crowned at the end of 10 episodes.

09
of 15

Best Workplace Comedy: The IT Crowd

The IT Crowd promotional photo

HALSHINNIE.CO.UK

  • IMDb rating: 8.5
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Starring: Chris O'Dowd, Richard Aoyade, Katherine Parkinson, Matt Berry
  • Created By: Graham Linehan
  • TV Rating: TV-14
  • Number of Seasons: 5

If you're looking for a good, geeky, workplace sitcom, look no further than The IT Crowd. Starring Chris O'Dowd, Matt Berry (more on him later in this list), and the criminally underrecognized-in-the-U.S. Richard Aoyade (check out his Travel Man series of Amazon Prime). The series chronicles the misadventures of the IT support techs at London's fictional Reynholm Industries. Watch for appearances by the goth IT tech played by Noel Fielding, who also appears on this list as one of the co-hosts of The Great British Baking Show.

10
of 15

Best Historical Crime Drama: Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders promo image

IMDB

  • IMDb rating: 8.8
  • Genre: Historical Crime
  • Starring: Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Anya Taylor-Joy
  • Created By: Steven Knight
  • TV Rating: TV-MA
  • Number of Seasons: 5

If historical crime, sharp suits, and antiquated slang are your thing, this Cillian Murphy-starring series will check all of your boxes. The series follows the titular gang/family of Irish Romani as they seek to expand their power in Birmingham, England, and contend with a police inspector played by Sam Neill. Look for featured roles from stars including Tom Hardy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Aiden Gillen, Adrien Brody, and Paddy Considine.

11
of 15

Best Serial Killer Docuseries: The Ripper

The Ripper promotional photo

IMDB

  • IMDb rating: 7.1
  • Genre: True Crime
  • Starring: n/a
  • Created By: Jesse Vile and Ellena Wood
  • TV Rating: TV-MA
  • Number of Seasons: 1

If your tastes turn more to the darker side of life, and to true stories (especially true crime), this docs-series about the serial killer dubbed The Yorkshire Ripper will chill and grip you. The series focuses on the 13 murders committed by Peter Sutcliffe in Yorkshire between 1975 and 1980 and blunders, institutional incompetence, and misogyny on the part of local police that allowed Sutcliffe to escape capture for so many years. A bleak and tragic, but also compelling, series.

12
of 15

Best Suburban Thriller: The Stranger

The Stranger promotional photo

IMDB

  • IMDb rating: 7.3
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Starring: Richard Armitage, Siobhan Finneran, Anthony Stewart Head
  • Created By: Danny Brocklehurst
  • TV Rating: TV-MA
  • Number of Seasons: 1

While it may be based on an American novel (Harlan Coben's 2015 book of the same name), transferring the story to Manchester makes this squarely a UK show. In it, suburban dad Adam (Armitage) is approached by a strange young woman who tells him a secret that begins to unravel his life. Soon enough, his wife goes missing, more secrets are revealed, and the tension mounts. A fun, twisty thriller.

13
of 15

Best Football Docuseries: Sunderland 'Til I Die

Sunderland Til I Die promotional photo

Craig Sugden

  • IMDb rating: 8.1
  • Genre: Sports
  • Starring: n/a
  • Created By: various
  • TV Rating: TV-MA
  • Number of Seasons: 2

No list of British TV would be complete without at least one look at the national sporting pastime, football (aka soccer, my fellow Americans). While Netflix's roster of footy shows is a little thin, this is an interesting look at Sunderland AFC, a team that's been relegated from the Premier League to a lesser division (the worst teams in the Premier League are penalized each year with expulsion, while the best teams in the lower league are promoted). Focused on the team and its relationship with its fans and city, this is a great look at the beautiful game and what it means in England.

14
of 15

Best Absurdist Comedy: Toast of London

Toast of London promotional image

IMDB

  • IMDb rating: 8.2
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Starring: Matt Berry, Robert Bathurst, Doon Machickan
  • Created By: Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry 
  • TV Rating: TV-MA
  • Number of Seasons: 3

Fans of the American cult comedy What We Do in the Shadows will already know Matt Berry (to say nothing of his role in The IT Crowd, mentioned earlier). If you can't get enough of his booming voice and comedic chops, get ready to nearly die from joy: Toast of London is all Berry, all the time. Berry plays the titular Steven Toast, an odd, marginal, disreputable middle-aged actor ever scheming to advance his career. Its absurdist tone, staging, and plot twists take some getting used to, but once you're on Toast's wavelength, there's little funnier. The BBC is moving Toast to Hollywood for a new series in 2021 or 2022.

15
of 15

Best Drugs Saga: Top Boy

Top Boy promotional photo

Chris Harris

  • IMDb rating: 8.4
  • Genre: Crime
  • Starring: Ashley Walters, Kano, Shane Romulus
  • Created By: Ronan Bennett
  • TV Rating: NR
  • Number of Seasons: 3

If you prefer your crime stories to be modern, gritty, and at the street level, check out Top Boy. The first two series were produced by the BBC and focus on life in an "estate" (aka a housing project) and the tribulations of its residents. The third series was funded by Netflix after the series gained acclaim and international viewership. The story of series creator Ronan Bennett seems equally compelling as his creation: He was convicted of involvement in the IRA murder of a police officer in 1975 (his conviction was overturned and he was released), was later arrested multiple times for involvement with an anarchist organization, and then went on to study at King's College London and later worked for one-time Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

FAQ
  • What are the best shows on Netflix?

    Finding the best shows on Netflix depends on your personal tastes and the type of entertainment you're looking for. Check out our roundup of the best shows on Netflix right now for an overview of some of the most popular and high-quality content on Netflix today.

  • What are the best movies on Netflix?

    While new movies are being added to Netflix monthly, and some movies will leave the streaming giant at some point, check out our list of the 30 best Netflix movies to watch right now to get a sampling of high-quality Netflix movies today.

  • What are the best horror movies on Netflix?

    Netflix has a huge assortment of scary movies. Check out our list of horror fan favorites on Netflix to find some of the scariest entertainment available on the streaming giant.

  • What are the best documentaries on Netflix?

    If you're looking for fascinating, inspiring, entertaining, and even horrifying real-life stores, Netflix documentaries offer something for everyone. Check out our list of the best documentaries on Netflix for a current sampling of the best real-world offerings on the streaming giant today.

Was this page helpful?