17 Excellent British Period Dramas You Can Binge Right Now

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Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark Swoon. (Photo: Photo: Courtesy of Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for MASTERPIECE)


The original 1970s version of Poldark was one of the BBC’s first costume dramas, and turned out to be one of the most popular period dramas of all time. Therefore, it’s really not *that* surprising that someone went ahead and tried to remake it for a modern audience. The surprise is that the remake is so good.

Set in Cornwall in 1793, Poldark tells the story of a man named Ross Poldark, a handsome, brooding British officer returning from the American Revolutionary War. When he returns home, he finds his life much changed – his father has died, the family mine is long closed, his house is ruined and his sweetheart Elizabeth is pledged to marry another. To marry his cousin Francis, in fact. So, that’s awkward.

A man of contradictions, Ross has a strong sense of social justice but a contempt for authority. He’s rebellious, volatile, principled, reckless and loyal. And very, very broody. (So, basically a poster boy for every period drama leading man that came after him – thanks for that!) One day he ends up rescuing a young boy from a street fight in the village – and that young boy turns out to actually be a young woman named Demelza. He hires her on as a kitchen maid, because that’s the kind of thing that happens in stories like this. Eventually the two of them end up married, but that’s not the end of the story by a long shot.

Aidan Turner stars as Poldark, and he’s very attractive. As a result of this, the show seems to find ways to encourage him to take his shirt off a lot. You know, in case that’s the kind of thing you’re interested in.

Number of Seasons: 2 (but the second is currently airing)

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime