Downton Abbey is one of the most beloved period dramas ever to grace the silver screen. Full of a diverse collection of characters, from the high brow aristocracy to the common servants of downstairs. Its convoluted plot threads and high drama captured the imagination of the world over.
Now that the series is over and you’ve finished the hotly anticipated film, perhaps you’re in need of something new to watch? Do you need more of these excellent British actors but in a new genre? Or perhaps you want some more of that period drama goodness but with a brand new set of characters?
Updated on April 22nd by Richard Keller: There’s good news if you still need a Downton Abbey fix. There are plenty of shows available on television and streaming services that have the same charm as the award-winning British series. Some take place within the same time span. Others go beyond the timeline to see what happens in the daily life of British citizens. Here are a few more TV shows to watch if you loved Downton Abbey.
15All Creatures Great And Small
Based on the books by veterinary surgeon Alf Wight, All Creatures Great and Small is a mix of country living in the 1930s and watching cows give birth. Premiering in 1978, the show focuses on James Herriot, a veterinarian who joins a practice in the Yorkshire Dales. The first run of the series was based on the books while the second contained original stories that led up to World War II.
All Creatures is a quiet show with glorious filmed views of the British countryside. It also features Peter Davidson as another vet — the owner’s little brother. Fans of Doctor Who know Peter as the fifth Doctor. It might be interesting to see how his character on the All Creatures differs from the one he portrayed later.
14The 1900 House
The 1900 House placed a late-20th century family into an early-20th century environment for a three-month period. During that time, they had to dress, eat, and do chores families would do in the late Victorian era. Actually, the ladies would do all the chores, as was the norm in 1900.
The award-winning UK version of the show, which aired on BBC Channel 4, revealed how family dynamics were changed as they lived in a setting where refrigerators, portable phones, and indoor plumbing were not available. A few years later, Channel 4 created The Edwardian Country House. This featured a family of five and 14 servants who lived in a Scottish country home.
There is no quiet British charm in this series. Instead, viewers of EastEnders get a daily dose of the soap opera drama that Downton Abbey did so well. Based in the East End of London, the show has been on the air since 1985. It continues to be not only popular but also an award-winning program.
The show’s initial family, the Beale-Fowlers, continue to remain the focal point. It’s around them that the daily activities of the borough of Walford spin. Like American soaps, there are good and bad times for those who live in the area. Overall, EastEnders is a program that shows how life might have been for the Crawley family if they’re fortunes had turned.
Home Fires is a drama that looks at life as World War II starts to ramp up for the UK. It focuses on members of the Women’s Institute, a charitable organization formed at the end of the 19th century. With a rural setting, Home Fires has the insular feel that Downton Abbey had.
The show really digs into this community setting. For instance, the first episode shows the WI ladies gathering wild blackberries to make homemade jam. As war is declared, these women worry about their husbands and children going into battle and how they will deal with day-to-day activities when it happens. Through its two series, Home Fires shows how people tried to maintain their daily routines in the midst of regular bombing raids.
Set in the same timeframe of Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge looks at London’s retail world in the first two decades of the 20th century. The series stars Entourage actor Jeremy Piven as the real-life Harry Gordon Selfridge. For 20 years, the man became a retail magnate by opening and managing the London-based Selfridge’s department store.
Selfridge’s goal was to bring the American style of shopping to London. He made it an adventure instead of a chore. The series focuses on the rough start of his venture and how it survived during World War I and the Roaring Twenties.
One of the upsides to Downton Abbey is its quiet charm. Nestled in the Yorkshire countryside, Downton is normally a charming and relaxing affair, full of the eccentricities of a historical British drama. Legion is anything but that.
This bizarre psychedelic superhero series is the complete antithesis to Downton Abbey. But, one thing it shares is the lead Dan Stevens. One of the biggest blows to Downton was the loss of Dan Stevens, and if you are still in dire need of more Dan Stevens content, Legion is your best bet.
9Call The Midwife
Call The Midwife is equally as charming and delightful as Downton Abbey, but just a bit more down to earth. This series follows, as its title might suggest, the lives of midwives. Set in post-war Britain, the series explores many of the highlights of the 20th century and how they directly impact the lives of these nurses.
The series was loosely based on the memoirs of real-life midwife Jennifer Worth but has since grown beyond to capture the real-life stories of multiple women. It explores the expanding role of women in post-war Britain, the growing baby boom, and the ever-changing world of the mid-century.
Downton explored a fascinating point in British history, right between the first world war and the second. If you loved exploring this era, but wanted a bit more rough and tumble action in your drama, Peaky Blinders is the perfect show for you.
Set during the same time but in Birmingham, Peaky Blinders follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family. This series is as ground level and gritty as these shows get, reveling in the street violence and working-class woes of the British public. It is about as far from the halls of Downton as one could get while still remaining in the period.
The new film Downton Abbey deals with the Crawley family preparing for a royal visit from the King and Queen. While the Crawleys might be the cream of the crop of the aristocracy, they are still below the royal family. Have you ever wondered how that other half lives?
The Crown explores just that. Focusing on the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, The Crown is a series that focuses on the complicated and stressful roles for those who are in the monarchy. The Crowleys might run into a lot of trouble now and then, but they were nowhere near under the same microscopic lens as the royals.
Victoria is almost a middle ground between Downton Abbey and The Crown. It deals with many of the same pressures of royalty that The Crown focuses on, but with far less of the public eye appearing as a foil for these characters. This series focuses on the life of Queen Victoria.
Portrayed by Doctor Who alum Jenna Coleman, this Queen is far more naive and out of her element than many of the royals that we have seen. But that is why it is so fascinating to watch her. While she remains a fish out of the water, it is her unique point of view that presents a difficult challenge to her enemies.
Perhaps you want even more of the same when it comes to your next series. Well, look no further than both versions of Upstairs Downstairs. The earlier series tells an incredibly similar story of the English Aristocracy set during the early half of the 20th century. Not only that, but it has many of the same dynamics as Downton when handling their servant and aristocratic characters.
The revival goes beyond the first series as well as Downton, beginning in 1936. If you have ever wanted to see what the characters at Downton would have faced next, the revival is for you. Both are also set in London, far beyond the northern halls of the Abbey.
4The Turn Of The Screw
Dan Stevens and Michelle Dockery had some of the best chemistry in all of Downton Abbey. The two were electric as the ill-fated Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley and were definitely fan favorites. If you loved them in Downton, but thought they could have used a bit more spookiness, then you will need to watch the BBC adaption of The Turn of the Screw.
Based on the Henry James novella, the TV movie tells the story of a governess, Dockery, who is tormented by spirits. In the film, Stevens plays an investigator who is unraveling her haunting story which resulted in the deaths of the children under her care. It is quite the genre change for Downton, but still with the period charm and some of your favorite players from the series.
Romance, drama, and intrigue are all descriptors that fit Downton Abbey as a series. They also fit perfectly for another British period drama, Poldark. This show takes viewers even farther back to the late 1700s, telling the story of the titular character as portrayed by Aidan Turner.
The series concerns itself with Poldark who is returning to his native home of Cornwall after the American War for Independence. What he comes home to is a world turned upside down. His father is dead, his estate is in ruins, and his love life is less than ideal. It has all the hallmarks that you’ve come to expect from Downton, but set among a brand new (well, old) period for viewers to invest in.
Romance in the Highlands plus time travel? What more could you ask for in a show? Outlander is a perfect followup for fans of Downton, especially if you’re looking for a bit of genre-bending goodness. Set in Scotland immediately after the second world war, Outlander tells the story of a woman who falls through time back to the mid-1700s, among the Jacobites of Scotland.
During her honeymoon, Clarie Randall is visiting Scotland with her husband when she is transported back in time, where she meets the dashing Jamie Fraser. Through the danger and drama of this era, she is thrust between her former love and this new and dashing rogue.
Father Brown is perfectly charming programming for those wanting to continue the more relaxed, laid back aura of Downton. Set in the fictional village of Kembleford among the Cotswolds hills, Father Brown is a murder mystery series about a sleuthing Catholic Priest. Each episode offers a brand new murder for him to solve, along with his friends in the village.
The series is loosely based on the series of books by G. K. Chesterton, expanding the character across multiple seasons. Portrayed by Mark Williams of Harry Potter fame, you will fall in love with this witty and open-minded priest as he solves crimes with deduction and empathy.