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The 30 best period dramas to watch on demand: Our critics sift through thousands of options to pick the most romantic, gripping and steamy shows to enjoy right now


Period dramas can offer up a gripping mixture of tension, romance and intrigue. 

But with so many options across so many streaming services, where should you start?

Well, our critics have done the hard work for you by sifting through copies choices to bring you an unmissable selection of 30 options that will whisk you back in time to the excitement and emotion of long-past eras.

Our picks: 

The Essex Serpent

Clare Danes and Tom Hiddleston star in a powerful Gothic drama

Year: 2022

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Apple TV+

Is an Essex village really being haunted by a mysterious snake? That’s what Victorian widow Cora (Clare Danes) sets out to discover when she heads to the hamlet of Aldwinter to investigate strange tales of a serpent.

Together with the local pastor (Tom Hiddleston) she begins to dig into what has really been happening. When a tragedy strikes, though, the locals turn on her and accuse her of being the reason for the serpent’s return.

Adapted with dark flair from Sarah Perry’s novel, this series swirls with menace and understated passion. Danes and Hiddleston are fantastic in the central roles of a memorable and powerful Gothic drama. (Six episodes)

Death Comes To Pemberley

‘Sequel’ to Pride And Prejudice, starring Matthew Rhys and Anna Maxwell Martin

Year: 2013

Certificate: 12

Watch now on Netflix

Two hundred years after the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice, this thoroughly enjoyable three-part series continues the story six years after the book left off, but in a very different vein – that of a murder mystery.

Adapted from P.D. James’s ‘mash-up’ novel of 2011, this stars Anna Maxwell Martin and Matthew Rhys as Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, now happily married with a small son. As they prepare to throw a lavish annual ball in their magnificent Pemberley home, the contented couple suddenly find their lives thrown into disarray when a murder is committed on their estate. Rebecca Front and Trevor Eve also star, and Jenna Coleman is excellent in the tricky role of Elizabeth’s flighty sister, Lydia. (Three episodes)

The Gilded Age 

The gloves are off in the American Downton Abbey‘s second outing

Year: 2023

Certificate: 15

Watch now on NOW

Watch now on Sky

In series one of Julian Fellowes’s transatlantic answer to Downton Abbey, we had a thorough introduction to the players in the struggle between old and new money in 1880s New York society. That struggle was still quite a genteel affair in those first nine episodes, but there’s a real sense the gloves are coming off in series two.

Bertha Russell (The Sinner’s Carrie Coon) is making no bones about splashing her nouveau riche cash on a big new opera house for the city, and the brash ambition of the woman is enough to curdle the milk in the aristocrats’ tea. And that’s to say nothing about the plans of Bertha’s businessman husband. The cheek of the man!

There’s also love on the horizon for shy Ada (Sex And The City’s Cynthia Nixon) and young Marian (Louisa Jacobson, Meryl Streep‘s daughter), although both women are reliant on old school Agnes (The Good Fight’s Christine Baranski) for their positions. So, will the elder van Rhijn sister approve of either of their romantic choices? One thing’s for sure: we can expect many dryly amusing observations from Agnes along the way. If anyone fills the Maggie Smith/Dowager Countess role on this show, it’s her. (Nine episodes)

The Great

Outrageous historical comedy drama starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult

Year: 2020-

Certificate: 18

Watch now on Prime Video

Paying a glorious minimum of attention to historical fact, this darkly funny and frequently outrageous comedy drama charts the rise of Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning) from reluctant bride of the barking and dangerous Peter III (Nicholas Hoult) to sole ruler of Russia.

Full of plots, schemes and raunchy comedy, it’s a fantastic Blackadder-esque confection of beautiful period costumes, slapstick and very black humour. The first two series saw Fanning and Hoult nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress/Actor in a Comedy Series at the Emmys and this third shows no dip in quality as the chirpy Catherine continues to plot to remove Peter from power and drag Russia kicking and screaming into the light of the 18th century. The Great is based on a play by Tony McNamara, who was also behind the similar 2018 movie The Favourite – and the very dissimilar Aussie medical romcom series The Heart Guy. (Three series, Lionsgate+ via Amazon Prime Video)

The Gallows Pole

Shane Meadows’s funny, earthy period drama

Year: 2023

Certificate: 15

Watch now on BBC iPlayer

This three-part drama from Shane Meadows (This Is England, The Virtues) takes a bit of getting used to, but once you settle into its style and rhythm it’s a real treat that turns all your expectations of period dramas upside down. Set in 18th-century Yorkshire, in the Calder Valley, it’s based on a true-crime story from the period, by way of the title novel by Benjamin Myers and Meadows’s own unique and playful vision. That playfulness starts with the title credits — Meadows is ‘Purvey’r of Scenes’, not director, and it’s all set to a soundtrack by Swedish psychedelic rockers and ‘Most Wonderous Troubadours’ Goat.

David Hartley (This Is England’s Michael Socha) returns home after seven years away to meet his destiny, bringing with him ‘diabolical visions’, a sack of loot and a life-threatening stab wound. It takes a while to get accustomed to the earthily authentic regional dialogue, but this comes into its own by the end of the first episode — during a biting and bitter verbal sparring match between David and his old flame Grace (Downton’s Sophie McShera). You won’t expect to, but you’ll be rolling with laughter by the time you reach episode two. (Three episodes)

A full-blooded prequel telling the story of how Charlotte married the king

Year: 2023

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Netflix

Golda Rosheuvel’s performance as the formidable, fearsome and ever-so-slightly tragic Queen Charlotte is one of the scene-stealing highlights of sexed-up period romance Bridgerton. No character from the show deserves a series of her own more than she does, making this six-episode retelling of just how she came to marry George III and her struggles with the aristocracy of the day a genuine treat.

India Amarteifio is perfect casting as the young Charlotte, all swagger and confidence as she arrives to marry a man she’s never met, but watch out too for assorted younger versions of various figures from the original how, not least Arsema Thomas as the young Lady Danbury. (Six episodes)

Lady Chatterley

Joely Richardson and Sean Bean star as DH Lawrence’s lovers

Year: 1993

Certificate: 15

Watch now on BBC iPlayer

Director Ken Russell has form with the works of DH Lawrence. His 1969 adaptation of Women In Love won Glenda Jackson the Best Actress Oscar. He directs this four-part adaptation of Lawrence’s most famous novel, starring Joely Richardson as the Lady, with Sean Bean as Mellors, the earthy groundsman who provides her comfort after her husband returns from the war, wounded, and with no interest in intimacy.

Some critics found it a bit too ‘sudsy’, but there’s no faulting the performances of Richardson and Bean, both perfectly cast and bold rather than brazen in their performances.

You’ll find it hard to track down an adaptation of this famously steamy novel that makes the sexual chemistry truly sizzle, and there have been plenty of them. See Holliday Grainger and Richard Madden’s 2015 BBC miniseries or Emma Corrin and Jack O’Connell, whose 2022 adaptation for Netflix saw the return of Joely Richardson – playing Sir Chatterley’s nurse, in place of his wife. (Four episodes)

Poldark

Exhilarating historical swashbuckler set amid the stunning Cornish landscape

Year: 2015-2019

Certificate: 12

Watch now on BBC iPlayer

A historical crowd-pleaser that celebrates the land – stunning late-18th-century Cornish landscapes, to be precise – and a hard day’s work, while swashing, buckling and soaring with romance, heartache and intrigue.

Based on Winston Graham’s series of historical novels, this second of two TV adaptations (after the much-loved 1975 series with Robin Ellis) stars Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark, returning from the American War of Independence to find his world in ruins. With barely a bead of sweat tickling his brow or oft-naked torso, Poldark toils to rebuild his fortune, right wrongs and reunite with his true love – despite her being engaged to someone else.

The ensemble cast also includes Eleanor Tomlinson (The Outlaws) as the heroic Demelza, Jack Farthing (Rain Dogs) as tormented George Warleggan and Beatie Edney (Highlander) as loyal servant Prudie Paynter. (Five series)

The Buccaneers

Fans of Bridgerton should enjoy this vibrant Edith Wharton adaptation

Year: 2023

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Apple TV+

Apple may have found its Bridgerton with this vibrant, well-cast and visually sumptuous tale of rich American girls being married to cash-poor British lords in the 1870s. It’s based on an unfinished novel by Edith Wharton that has only been adapted once before – by the BBC, in 1995 – and the story has a nice mix of light and shade, shot through with occasional belts of modern music to match the spirit of the girls. Their vibrancy collides with the stuffy British establishment and the mix of hope, romance and poignancy that follows is the meat of the story.

The cast is first-rate, especially Looking For Alaska‘s Kristine Froseth as the clever Nan, who is forever accidentally overshadowing her more traditionally attractive sister. Another standout is Guy Remmers as Theo, the grumpy but soulful Duke of Tintagel, who despairs of the debutante season and would rather spend his time painting on the beach. The series itself has a complicated web of friendships and relationships that will keep you compelled from one episode to the next, and then there are all the costumes and big houses of course – no one could accuse Apple of skimping on those here. (Eight episodes)

Middlemarch

BAFTA-winning adaptation of George Eliot’s classic novel starring Juliet Aubrey and Rufus Sewell

Year: 1994

Certificate: PG

Watch now on UKTV Play

Andrew Davies’ adaptation of George Eliot’s novel was first shown on the BBC in 1994, so that’s a very young Rufus Sewell as Will Ladislaw, a much more suitable intellectual match for unfulfilled Dorothea Brooke (Juliet Aubrey, who won a BAFTA for her performance) than her much older husband.

It’s a compelling story of romance and empowerment that also takes in political and social reform without – as was Eliot’s genius – ever feeling preachy or sanctimonious. Douglas Hodge and Robert Hardy also star, with a voiceover by Judi Dench. (Six episodes)

Sanditon

Hit period romance based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novel

Year: 2019-2023

Certificate: 12

Watch on ITVX

As with all things Austen, this show earned a large and vocal global fanbase which – via the ‘Sanditon Sisterhood’ – helped to get it uncancelled when ITV ditched the show after its first series.

Based on Jane Austen’s unfinished 1817 novel, it channels the spirit of Regency and Victorian writers, not just Austen, but there’s a dash of the Brontes at play, too – especially when, in series two, heroine Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) becomes governess to Alexander Colbourne (Ben Lloyd-Hughes), a brooding widower in the vein of Jane Eyre’s Mr Rochester.

For historical romance buffs this is a must, and the third and final season wraps things up nicely – though that might not stop the Sanditon Sisterhood launching a new campaign. (Three series)

Downton Abbey

Julian Fellowes’s brilliant upstairs-downstairs tale

Year: 2010-2015

Certificate: 12

Watch now on Netflix

Watch now on Prime Video

Like Upstairs, Downstairs before it, Julian Fellowes’s tale of life at a Yorkshire country estate has become one of British television’s great exports.

The series was inspired by Fellowes’ script for the excellent film Gosford Park, and follows the story of the aristocratic Crawley family. It begins in superbly understated style in 1912, with a newspaper being ironed, the sinking of the Titanic and the sudden need for a male heir to carry on the line of the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville). Step forward distant cousin Matthew Crawley (breakout star Dan Stevens), and a 52-episode strong run of drama above and below stairs followed.

It could be soapy at times but Downton always looked fabulous, and was simply packed with excellent actors – towering above them all was Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, the wonderfully pithy Dowager Countess. Violet’s spirit lives on in the performance of Christine Baranski as old-money doyenne Agnes van Rhijn in The Gilded Age, Fellowes’s American follow-up to Downton. (Six series)

Wuthering Heights

Dark and moody adaptation of Emily Bronte’s novel with Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley

Year: 2009

Certificate: 15

Watch on ITVX

If you’ve read the novel by Emily Brontë, you’ll know that most TV adaptations and films largely dispense with the novel’s miserable second half, focusing on the romance between Catherine and her foster brother Heathcliff, and not the anger, cruelty and resentment that the last part of the book descends into. Catherine and especially Heathcliff also get softened and made more sympathetic.

This version, starring Charlotte Riley and her future husband Tom Hardy as the doomed lovers, digs a little deeper, and how you feel about it will depend on how you engage with the two leads. Hardy definitely puts the brute into Heathcliff and there is a darkness here that isn’t just from the fog on the moors. There’s also an attempt to capture the three-generation sweep of the novel and of the corrupting force of love turned to a bitter, twisted obsession. (Two episodes)

The Devil’s Whore

Recent Oscar nominee Andrea Riseborough heads up a quality Civil War adventure

Year: 2008

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Channel 4

Not a satanic Hammer horror film as the title might suggest, but a quality English Civil War drama with a killer cast. All porcelain face, rouge and corsets, Andrea Riseborough is Angelica Fanshawe, a noblewoman through whom a battle for the soul of England plays out.

Angelica is not a noblewoman for long and, as England descends into bloody civil war, she is cast out, with the scandalous reputation of the title. Riseborough brings an iron lady grit to a series that matches lofty historical storytelling with gripping entertainment. (One series, plus follow-up series New Worlds)

Indian Summers

Sex, snobbery and colonial intrigue in 1930s India

Year: 2015-2016

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Channel 4

Set in 1932 in the foothills of the Himalayas, this epic drama follows the fortunes of the British expats and their Indian hosts, played out against a backdrop of political tension and power struggles, sex and snobbery, family feuds and rampant racism.

The main reason to watch is Julie Walters‘s performance as Cynthia Coffin, the queen bee of the exclusive Royal Simla Club, a home from home for the British Raj. The show was recommissioned for a second series after becoming the most successful drama launch on Channel 4 for 20 years.

The Royal Simla Club is actually the Crag Hotel in Malaysia, which had been derelict since the film Indochine was shot there in the early 90s. It took three months for the production team to bring it back to life. (Two series)

Lark Rise To Candleford

Coming of age for a 19th-century girl working as a country postmistress

Year: 2008-2011

Certificate: 12

Watch now on UKTV Play

Flora Thompson’s charmingly nostalgic memoirs of her idyllic childhood in rural Oxfordshire in the late 19th century (published as a trilogy from 1939), were brought to the screen in four series of this well-appointed, genteel period drama.

We follow country girl Laura Timmins (Olivia Hallinan) as she leaves the hamlet of Lark Rise to work in the post office in the market town of Candleford, under the wing of her bubbly cousin, the postmistress Dorcas Lane (Julia Sawalha).

The pair are soon best friends, facing life’s ups and downs in a world of contrasts – rich and poor, town and country, old and new. Filmed on a specially built and rather stunning set, this is a whimsical portrait of a long-lost England, awash with charm and colour – and it feels a long way from the murky shades of grey that mark the visual style of more recent period dramas. Liz Smith, Linda Bassett, Dawn French and Olivia Grant also star. (Four series)

Tom Jones

A reimagined look at the life of a foundling young man as he makes his way in the world

Year: 2023

Watch on ITVX

Henry Fielding’s 1749 novel (the full title – The History Of Tom Jones, A Foundling – helps avoid any confusion with a certain Welsh singer) is an epic at 700-plus pages, but is a veritable romp and highly regarded as an early novel.

At the time it raised eyebrows for its wilful handling of sex and promiscuity but it’s this wild, romantic character that led Gwyneth Hughes, who wrote this four-part adaptation, to describe it as ‘the mother of all romcoms’.

Raised as a bastard by the wealthy Squire Allworthy, young Thomas is a lusty sort. But for all his bedhopping he’s also decent, devoted and honest and it’s the love of a good woman that tames him and makes him a better man.

Solly McLeod, a rising star who most recently appeared in House Of The Dragon, plays Tom, with You Don’t Know Me’s Sophie Wilde as his true love Sophia. There’s also a superb cast of veterans playing the adults in the room – including James Fleet (The Vicar Of Dibley) as Tom’s guardian Squire Allworthy and Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso) as one of Tom’s more devious and experienced lovers. (Four episodes)

Marie Antoinette

Ravishingly modern take on the doomed Queen of France

Year: 2022

Certificate: 12

Watch now on BBC iPlayer

There’s no sugar-coating in this eight-part biographical drama about the Queen of France. As an immature 14-year-old who stamps her feet, Austrian Archduchess Maria Antonia (a riveting performance from German actress Emilia Schule) is married to the future King (Louis Cunningham) and expected to quickly produce an heir – even though she has no idea what that involves.

It’s created by Deborah Davis, the BAFTA-winning writer of The Favourite, but it’s not quite as strange and surreal as that black comedy movie set in the court of our own Queen Anne. It looks absolutely ravishing and boasts a spiky modern soundtrack, but the emphasis is on the cruelty of a woman trapped by duty, and the boorishness of the royal classes – with James Purefoy both regal and exasperated as King Louis XV and British newcomer Louis Cunningham as the Dauphin, Marie’s naïve and detached new husband. (One series)

The Borgias

Neil Jordan’s sexy take on one of history’s most notorious families

Year: 2011-2013

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Paramount+

Sexy, lavish and slightly soapy, this historical fiction drama created by Neil Jordan takes us deep into the conniving world of the papal family of the title. This ambitious family are happy to use everything in their arsenal from bribery to murder as part of their relentless quest for wealth and power.

It stars Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI and Holliday Grainger as Lucrezia, the favourite of his children, but whose love life is a disaster – her husband and lover are both murdered, while her feelings towards her brother Cesare (Francois Arnaud) are unnatural. There are three glorious series to get your teeth into, although a planned fourth was canned due to the expense of the series. (Three series)

Bridgerton

Racy Regency romp that reinvented the period drama genre

Year: 2020

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Netflix

Based on the books by Julia Quinn, Bridgerton is set during the swirl of the London social season in 1813, going from ball to ball as the capital’s eligible young men and women circle each other in a high-stakes game of matchmaking.

At the centre of this are Daphne Bridgerton and the Duke of Hastings (Phoebe Dynevor and Rege-Jean Page), and watching over it all is unseen gossip queen Lady Whistledown (voiced by the great Julie Andrews), whose biting narration accompanies every romantic twist.

It’s worth watching if you like the spectacle of the dresses and balls of period dramas, but aren’t overly beholden to the genre’s traditions, because this raunchy show is determined to push them.

It’s produced by US TV powerhouse Shonda Rhimes (Scandal), and occasionally feels more like Gossip Girl than Pride & Prejudice. The first series reinvented the period drama genre, ramping up the excessiveness of the clothes, the houses, the romance and – yes, yes, YES – the sex. No wonder it became Netflix’s biggest hit ever, with 82 million households tuning in the first few weeks alone. (Two series)

Versailles

Lavish and racy drama set in the court of French king Louis XIV

Year: 2015-2018

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Britbox

‘A king without a castle is no king at all.’ This lavish drama opens in 1667, as Louis XIV (George Blagden), then 28, is finally freed from the control of the council of ministers that had governed France for him and is determined to find a suitably fine property in which to live and rule.

The story is kicked into high gear when Louis asserts his newfound authority, and wrongfoots his enemies by shifting his seat of power to a magnificent hunting lodge at Versailles, where much of the action takes place.

The drama at his scheming court is compelling, and as you’d expect from a French series, there are a lot of saucy scenes, so this should hit the spot nicely if you were a fan of The Tudors. The most expensive French television series of all time, its co-writer and producer is Simon Mirren, nephew of Oscar-winner Dame Helen. (Three series)

Dangerous Liaisons

Adaptation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ classic 18th-century novel

Year: 2022

Certificate: 18

Watch now on Prime Video

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’s deliciously cruel novel about sex, seduction and power in 18th Century Paris has already been made into at least two movies, not to mention inspiring the brilliant modern-day version in 1999, Cruel Intentions.

Now this prequel series charts the early lives of its lead characters, the fabulously amoral and power-hungry Valmont and Merteuil (played by John Malkovich and Glenn Close in the Oscar-winning 1988 movie). Full of beautiful costumes, steamy scheming and Machiavellian plotting, it’s a heady eight-part series with a killer cast: Alice Englert and Nicholas Denton are superb as Merteuil and Valmont, but look out too for Lesley Manville, Paloma Faith and Game Of Thrones‘ Carice van Houten. (One series, via Lionsgate+)

Little Dorrit

Adaptation of Charles Dickens’ story of love and debt

Year: 2008

Certificate: 12

Watch now on BBC iPlayer

Claire Foy hit the big time in The Crown, playing the young Queen Elizabeth, but this was the role that kick-started her TV career. Written by that master of the literary adaptation Andrew Davies (see also Bleak House, War & Peace and many more), this 14-part miniseries of the Dickens classic delivered on its, er, great expectations. The performances are especially good, even accounting for the exaggerated characterisations that Dickens is known for, with Matthew Macfadyen and Russell Tovey as the love interests of Foy’s Amy Dorrit.

Amy was raised in a debtors’ prison, with money coming and going, slipping like water through the fingers of folk like the Dorrits. The satire and critique of the system was personal for Dickens, whose father was once a resident of London’s Marshalsea Prison – where the Dorrits also find themselves – for debt. (14 episodes)

Miss Scarlet And The Duke

Chalk ‘n’ cheese detective duo solving crimes in Victorian London

Year: 2020-

Certificate: PG

Watch now on Sky

Watch now on NOW

‘A lady should always act like a lady,’ says Miss Scarlet in a lively and funny chalk ‘n’ cheese detective series set in 1880s London. When she’s not keeping up her image as one of the gentry, Eliza (Peaky Blinders‘ Kate Phillips) solves crime with her own agency and, occasionally, the help of a boozy police officer – William ‘The Duke’ Wellington, hence the title – who is played by Jamestown’s Stuart Martin.

They become awkward allies and potentially something more across this engaging series, which keeps the will-they-won’t-they element bubbling along in the background of satisfying mysteries peppered with fun characters. Look out for Kevin Eldon as a nosy reporter in series one, episode four, and, in the third series, Oliver Chris as the hilariously unscrupulous reporter Basil Sinclaire. The latest fourth series begins with a burglary at a high-end brothel whose clients include important members of the British government. (Four series)

The Sally Lockhart Mysteries

Billie Piper‘s plucky Victorian heroine tackles intriguing riddles…

Year: 2006

Certificate: 15

Watch now on UKTV Play

Sally Lockhart blows away the cobwebs that often covered the Victorian lady. She’s a woman who is brave and bold, intelligent and adventurous – and not about to let her petticoats hold her back. Created by His Dark Materials author Philip Pullman, our headstrong young heroine is reeling from the death of her father when we first meet her in The Ruby In The Smoke.

Sally is propelled through her grief by a mystery buried in her own past, as well as the search for a ruby which brings her into contact with friends (including JJ Feild’s dashing photographer and Hayley Atwell as his actress sister) and foes (Julie Walters’ sinister Mrs Holland). With a superb cast, which also includes the debut screen role of future Doctor Who Matt Smith, these atmospheric mysteries, based on the first two of Pullman’s four Sally Lockhart novels, have something for everyone – a well-dressed mystery with a dash of romance and a compelling and totally unique heroine. (Two feature-length episodes)

Daniel Deronda

Period drama about a young man torn between two women

Year: 2002

Certificate: PG

Watch now on UKTV Play

Romola Garai playing Gwendolen Harleth in Daniel Deronda

Romola Garai playing Gwendolen Harleth in Daniel Deronda

George Eliot’s ambitious final novel is adapted by prolific screenwriter Andrew Davies (War & Peace, Sanditon). Hugh Dancy stars as the title character, a gentleman of unknown lineage who searches for meaning in his life and finds himself torn between two women.

Downton’s Hugh Bonneville, unusually, plays it wicked as the cold and cruel aristocrat Henleigh Grandcourt, who marries Romola Garai’s Gwendolen with the intention of making her his ‘perfect wife’. But Gwendolen has married for financial security and is not as compliant as her arrogant husband would like. Daniel, meanwhile, helps poor Jewish singer Mirah (Jodhi May) who has fallen on desperate times.

There is much more to this story, though, than what tugs at Daniel or Gwendolen’s heartstrings and Davies’s three-part adaptation does a decent job of bringing that to life. (Three episodes)

Flowers In The Attic: The Origin

How dark secrets shaped the Foxworth family from the very beginning

Year: 2022

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Paramount+

The original tale of incest, imprisonment, murder and deep dark secrets spun by the novel Flowers In The Attic has twice been committed to film so far, in 1987 with Louise Fletcher and Kristy Swanson, and then again in 2014 with Ellen Burstyn and Heather Graham.

Now it earns its own four-part prequel mini-series, which digs into the distressing history of the Foxworth family and the relationships that set them on a course for tragedy and disaster. It’s hot and heady stuff shot full of forbidden lustful glances between family members and hints at the madness to come.

Guest appearances by the likes of Kelsey Grammer pepper proceedings but the heavy dramatic lifting is mostly done by the excellent Max Irons and Jemima Rooper as the ill-fated Malcolm and Olivia. (Four episodes)

Lions Of Sicily

Italian drama centring on a family’s business empire on the rise in the early 19th century

Year: 2023

Watch now on Disney+

Prepare for blazing sun and blazing passions in equal measure as this eight-part Italian period drama spins the story of the Italian merchant dynasty the Florios who are battling to turn a small family business into a globe-spanning empire.

It all starts in the early 1800s as brothers Paolo and Ignazio open a small spice business on the island of Sicily, but it really kicks into gear as the industrial age dawns and the family’s young lion Vincenzo sets his sights on both wealth and the hand of a rebellious young woman named Giulia. It’s stirring stuff based on the internationally bestselling novel by Stefania Auci and crammed with fraught drama and heady romance. (Eight episodes)

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio adapts DH Lawrence’s classic novel

Year: 2015

Certificate: 15

Watch now on UKTV Play

Screen adaptations of DH Lawrence’s notorious 1928 novel are guaranteed to attract attention. But the book’s reputation shouldn’t detract from its emotionally charged story. It is not only focused on rugged language and clandestine romps, but also fused with the everyday impact of the once-insurmountable class divide.

The first British adaptation of the novel in 22 years when it was first released, this film directed by Jed Mercurio (Line Of Duty) stars Holliday Grainger as Lady Constance Chatterley, radiant with often flushed cheeks, and Richard Madden as her coarse but devoted groundsman lover. Bookended by a hurried start and finish, the middle section flourishes, much like their raw, strange and beautiful romance. (89 mins)



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