Binge-watching Brit Telly
the essential guide
It’s amazing how many of our American friends absolutely love British TV. Thanks to PBS, Netflix and BBC America, we’ve even had Uber drivers making random references to Brideshead Revisited, Broadchurch and Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced “Bouquet” of course) as soon as they realise we’re from the UK. And something we all agree on - Brit telly is so brilliant, we can’t stop watching. So whether you’re binging Stateside or back home in Blighty, you’ll be pleased to hear the ultimate guide book has finally arrived.
Written by TV blogger Sarah Cords (who describes herself as “the Yank”) and Jackie Bailey (the Brit), Bingeworthy British Television is a comprehensive guide to more than 100 programs, from comedies and crime dramas to historical and literary adaptations. Each entry has everything you need to know about the cast, the creators/writers of the show, trivia tidbits, why it’s bingeworthy, suggestions on what to watch next, and the really important stuff - exactly how long it will take to binge.
The book is very well organized by genre and each section ends with a note from Jackie with personal recommendations on which shows to pick first and why. Non-Brits will really appreciate Jackie’s answers to questions like what is the “watershed”, why do British police dramas have fewer guns than American cop shows, and why are series from across the pond shorter than US counterparts?
I enjoyed swotting-up on golden oldies and classics such as Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses and the aforementioned Brideshead, as well as more recent favourites including Life on Mars, Luther, Hustle and Poldark. I loved getting the lowdown on Line of Duty, but I do have a special request for the authors - when you update this book, please add an acronym glossary/cheat-sheet, to give us poor confused viewers some inkling into what the UCOs from AC-12 are nattering on about!
The book is also fully indexed, so you can flip to the back and find your all your favourite actors, creators and shows in seconds. The appendix section includes a guide to Doctor Who and useful lists such as series that can be binge-watched in under 4 hours.
Of course, the big question is: once we've read all about these must-watch TV shows, where do we go to begin binge-watching? If you can’t find them on PBS, the good news is that most are available to stream online (or even on DVD if you fancy going old school). To help, I’ve included more links at the end of this post.
This book is an absolute gem - the perfect companion for seasoned telly addicts like me, or anyone just starting to discover the delights of Brit TV.
Time to make a cuppa, turn on the telly, grab this guide and look-up some more shows that are totally bingeworthy.
Now, where did I put the remote?
Bingeworthy British Television is available on Amazon
As an Amazon Associate I am rewarded when you purchase. Thank you for supporting British Banter in Atlanta.
Brilliant Brit dramas
on PBS and Amazon
They’re back - London detectives Cassie (Nicola Walker) and Sunny (Sanjeev Bhaskar) return for the third season of Unforgotten with a brand new murder to investigate.
A band new old murder, that is.
When the body of a long-lost teenager is dug up in the middle of the M1 by road workers, the gruesome discovery also unearths many deep-buried emotions and secrets from the past. The police investigation leads to four former school friends, played by
Neil Morrissey et al.
With its complex plot and detailed character developments, the latest installment of this ITV cold case series will keep you guessing “whodunit” till the very end.
If you did forget (bad pun, sorry!) to watch on PBS, you can still stream Unforgotten on Amazon and Apple TV instead.
As an Amazon & Apple Associate I am rewarded when you purchase. Thanks for supporting British Banter in Atlanta.
Mrs. Wilson, a powerful three-part drama starring Ruth Wilson, is inspired by the true story of her own grandmother.
This gripping BBC production switches between London in the 1940s and ‘60s to 1930s British India. These were the days of poised reserve, repressed emotions and social civility when family crisis was superficially quelled with a cup of tea (poured from dainty teapots into matching china cups and saucers, naturally). The whole show is stylish and polished with brilliant acting by Wilson as well as Keeley Hawes and Iain Glen. There’s tons of intrigue, shocks and surprises, and enough twists to keep you guessing about the secret life of the mysterious Major Wilson.
The personal connection here, with Ruth Wilson playing her real-life gran, makes this drama even more compelling and quite unique.
If you missed it on PBS, you can find Mrs. Wilson on Amazon & Apple TV instead.
As an Amazon & Apple Associate I am rewarded when you purchase.
Thanks for supporting British Banter in Atlanta.
Brace yourself, America
Forget Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston and a movie with an almost identical name. To describe Netflix’s latest UK import Bodyguard, I only need three words:
intense, intense, intense.
Created by the brilliant Jed Mercurio (acclaimed writer of Line of Duty), this riveting new BBC TV drama stars Keeley Hawes (also from Line of Duty) and Richard Madden, who hubby immediately recognised from Game of Thrones.
With a storyline centered on political intrigue, terror threats, divided loyalties and numerous explosive twists, this series was a record-breaking success back home; more than 17 million Brits watched the final episode last August, giving the BBC its highest drama viewing figures of all time.
A word of warning, however. Now that Bodyguard can be streamed instantly on Netflix, binge-watching episodes 1 and 2 consecutively left me emotionally drained. This is gripping, nail-biting stuff. I strongly suggest several deep breaths and a spot of meditation between each of the six parts.
In my personal opinion, the only flaw is the casting of Pippa Haywood as a police commander. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t help having flashbacks of her playing the comic but long-suffering wife of Gordon Brittas in The Brittas Empire circa 1992 (but that’s just me - don’t take any notice). She’s actually a fine actress and I really should know better. In any case, the fast-paced,
action-packed plot leaves little time for such frivolous distraction.
If you enjoy tension, shocking surprises and edge-of-your-seat suspense, you’ll love Bodyguard. Admittedly, you may need a lie-down in a darkened room after watching, but it's well worth the stress.
The Great Train Robbery
For everyone who has kids,
and everyone who doesn’t.
So basically, everyone then.
Looking for a way to stop scams forever? Joe Lycett has the answer! Most of his material is based around sending emails and texts, and I just love his delivery (excuse the pun!).