17 Excellent British Period Dramas You Can Binge Right Now

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Damian Lewis and Claire Foy in “Wolf Hall”. (Photo: Courtesy of Ed Miller/Playground & Company Pictures for MASTERPIECE/BBC)

Wolf Hall

The tumultuous life of England’s King Henry VIII has always been fertile ground for dramatic adaptations. With all the adultery, beheadings, religious reformation, and war going on, it’s pretty easy to see why. Plus, there’s a lot of scandalous romance, which I think we call all get behind.

Wolf Hall is based on the critically acclaimed novels by Hilary Mantel. (PS: We’re all still waiting on the third novel in this trilogy, FYI.) Mantel puts a fresh spin on the story of the Tudor court by basing her tale on one of its least well-known members: Thomas Cromwell. The son of a blacksmith, Cromwell eventually rose to become one of the most powerful men in England. A primary architect of the English Reformation, he was also instrumental in engineering Henry’s divorce from first wife Katherine of Aragon, his marriage to Anne Boleyn, and her subsequent beheading. By telling the story of Henry’s reign through the lens of Cromwell’s life, Wolf Hall manages to make a very familiar story feel new again.

Plus, the series’ cast is very impressive, anchored by a rather tremendous performance from Mark Rylance in the lead role. Other familiar faces include: Damian Lewis, Claire Foy, Jonathan Pryce, Anton Lesser, and Jessica Raine.

Number of Seasons: 1

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime