17 Excellent British Period Dramas You Can Binge Right Now

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The Peaky Blinders gang. (Photo: (C) Tiger Aspect – Photographer: Robert Viglasky)

Peaky Blinders

Want to watch a period drama that feels like a modern show? Then Peaky Blinders is for you. This series doesn’t feature lavish estates or well-mannered afternoon tea – it’s a much more gritty kind of costume drama. But it’s still fascinating, even if it’s probably way, way more violent than your average period drama fan is used to.

Set in England just after World War I, Peaky Blinders is inspired by the true story of the notorious Birmingham gang of the same name. The nickname “Peaky Blinders” stems from the fact that the gang’s members would often sew razor blades into the brims of their hats to use as weapons. (Gross.)

The show stars Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby, the ambitious leader of the Peaky Blinders, who wants to raise his gangster family’s profile in the criminal underworld.  He ends up facing off with Sam Neill’s Inspector Campbell, who has been sent to Birmingham to clean up all the gangs and other riffraff running around. The two butt heads, play cat and mouse and even fall for the same girl at one point. And that’s just in Season 1.

Unexpected bonus: The show features a parade of strong female characters, who all have their own agendas and motivations. Helen McCrory’s Aunt Polly Shelby is particularly fantastic, and the equal to any of the men. And the music – which is entirely modern and anachronistic to the period  – is used to incredible effect.

Number of Seasons: 3 (It’s been renewed for at least two more.)

Where to Watch: Netflix