I’m always on the lookout for the best historical TV and film viewing. However one thing I’ve noticed since starting blogging about history is that, while there are several great blogs talking about upcoming period dramas, they are written for a North American audience.
I couldn’t find a comprehensive guide to upcoming historical TV and film viewing aimed solely at a UK audience, featuring UK air dates. I thought if I was looking for this information then others must be too. So I decided to create a NEW page on my blog, dedicated to upcoming UK historical film and TV.
I’m aiming to update this page on a fortnightly basis, but if you come across a period drama I haven’t listed please feel free to contact me via Twitter or my Facebook page. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
P.S. If you’re interested in air dates for period dramas in the US and Canada, then I thoroughly recommend you follow The Lady and The Rose
- 1st Jan – The Favourite (movie) – In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne (the brilliant Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.
- 4th Jan – On The Basis of Sex (movie) – The story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her struggles for equal rights and what she had to overcome in order to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
- 11th Jan – Stan and Ollie (movie) – Laurel and Hardy, the world’s most famous comedy duo, attempt to reignite their film careers as they embark on what becomes their swan song – a grueling theatre tour of post-war Britain.
- 11th Jan – Grantchester – Series 4 (ITV) – James Norton stars as a Cambridgeshire clergyman investigating a series of mysterious wrongdoings in his small village of Grantchester.
- 16th Jan – Restoration: Historic House Rescue (More 4) FACTUAL – A two-part documentary will follow the work of the Landmark Trust to transform the Llwyn Celyn in the Black Mountains into a fully restored masterpiece as it becomes their milestone 200th Landmark.
- 18th Jan – Mary Queen of Scots (movie) – Mary Stuart’s attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England, finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution.
- 23rd Jan – Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family (BBC1) FACTUAL – In a two-part series, Danny Dyer puts the flesh on the bones of his incredible family tree, previously revealed on Who Do You Think You Are?
- 24th Jan- American History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley (BBC4) FACTUAL – Lucy Worsley explores how the history of the American Revolution has been mythologised and manipulated by generations of politicians, writers and protesters.
- 25th Jan – Collette (movie) – Colette is pushed by her husband to write novels under his name. Upon their success, she fights to make her talents known, challenging gender norms.
- 25th Jan – Un people at son roi/One Nation, One King (movie) – This film is a historical fresco about the French Revolution focusing in particular on the role and perception by his contemporaries of King Louis XVI
- 25th Jan – Medici: The Magnificent (Netflix) – The follow up to Medici: Masters of Florence, it picks up 20 years after the first season and chronicles the journey of Lorenzo the Magnificent’s son Lorenzo taking leadership of the family run bank in 15th Century Florence.
- Victoria – Series 3 (ITV) – The third series about the early life of Queen Victoria, from her ascension to the throne at the tender age of 18 to her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert.
- 1st Feb – Green Book (movie) – A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.
- 8th Feb – All is True (movie) – A look at the final days in the life of renowned playwright William Shakespeare, with Kenneth Branagh both directing and starring as the Bard
- 1st Mar – The Aftermath (movie) – Post World War II, a British colonel and his wife are assigned to live in Hamburg during the post-war reconstruction, but tensions arise with the German who previously owned the house. Keira Knightley stars.
- 22nd Mar – Greyhound (movie) – A navy officer commands the Greyhound during World War II. Tom Hanks stars.
- 19th Apr – Red Joan (movie) – The story of Joan Stanley, who was exposed as the KGB’s longest-serving British spy. The legend that is Dame Judi Dench stars.
- 26th Jul – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (movie) – A faded TV actor and his stunt double embark on an odyssey to make a name for themselves in the film industry during the Helter Skelter reign of terror in 1969 Los Angeles. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt star.
- 13th Sep – Downton Abbey (movie) – The long-awaited film based on the popular TV show.
- 1st Nov – The Aeronauts (movie) – Pilot Amelia Wren and scientist James Glaisher find themselves in an epic fight for survival while attempting to make discoveries in a hot air balloon.
- A Christmas Carol (BBC1) – A television adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale of the miser Ebenezer Scrooge.
At some point in 2019
- Belgravia (ITV) – ITV has commissioned a series based on Downton Abbey’s creator Julian Fellow’s novel Belgravia, a tale of secrets and scandals set in 1840s London.
- The Crown – Series 3 (Netflix) – The third series about the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century.
- Dracula (BBC1/Netflix) – The creators of Sherlock are working on a new TV adaptation of the literary baddie Dracula, set in Victorian London
- The Elephant Man (BBC1) – Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton is to star as Joseph Merrick, the title role in BBC1’s upcoming two-part drama The Elephant Man.
- The Durrells – Series 4 (ITV) – The fourth series based on the autobiographical novel by Gerald Durrell, the naturalist, explorer, writer and conservationist, which tells the story of his family settling on Corfu island in 1933 after his father’s untimely death.
- Endeavour – Series 6 (ITV) – Set in the 1960s, the show follows Endeavour Morse in his early years as a police constable. Working alongside his senior partner DI Fred Thursday, Morse engages in a number of investigations around Oxford.
- Gentleman Jack (BBC1) – Anne Lister, played by Suranne Jones, returns to Halifax, West Yorkshire in 1832, determined to transform the fate of her faded ancestral home Shibden Hall.
- The Gilded Age (NBC) – A look at life of millionaires living in New York during the 1800s by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes
- Harlots – Series 3 (ITV Encore) -Brothel owner Margaret Wells struggles to raise her daughters in London during the 18th century.
- Jamestown – Series 2 (Sky) – The second series of a drama about English settlers in America in 1617.
- Judy (movie) – Legendary performer Judy Garland arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts. Renee Zellweger stars.
- The Luminaries (BBC 2) – Adventure mystery set in the midst of New Zealand’s 1860’s gold rush.
- The Marvellous Mrs Maisel – Series 3 (Amazon Prime) – A housewife in the 1950s decides to become a stand-up comic.
- Mary Anning and The Dinosaur Hunters (movie) – The film reveals the life, plight and loves of the eminent Mary Anning, an 1800’s fossil hunter – navigating her career and research in a male dominated society. Predominantly unknown despite her spectacular finds, and notwithstanding the fact that Darwins’ ‘Origin of Species’ was largely influenced by her work.
- The Best of Enemies (movie) – Civil rights activist Ann Atwater faces off against C.P. Ellis, Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, in 1971 Durham, North Carolina over the issue of school integration.
- Troop Zero (movie) – In rural 1977 Georgia, a misfit girl dreams of life in outer space. When a competition offers her a chance to be recorded on NASA’s Golden Record, she recruits a makeshift troop of Birdie Scouts, forging friendships that last a lifetime.
- Harriet (movie) – The story of Harriet Tubman, who helped free hundreds of slaves from the South after escaping from slavery herself in 1849.
- Ophelia (movie) – A re-imagining of Hamlet, told from Ophelia’s (Daisy Ridley) perspective.
- Outlander – Series 5 (Amazon Prime) – An English combat nurse from 1945 is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, Based on the popular series of books by Diana Gabalton.
- Peaky Blinders – Series 5 (BBC1) – The fifth series of a gangster family epic set in 1919 Birmingham, England; centered on a gang who sew razor blades in the peaks of their caps, and their fierce boss Tommy Shelby.
- The Personal History of David Copperfield (movie) – a new movie based on the film by Charles Dickens, with Dev Patel starring in the title role
- Poldark – Series 5 (BBC1) – the fifth and final series based on the Poldark novels
- Sanditon – ITV – Jane Austen’s unfinished novel Sanditon is being adapted into an ITV series by Pride and Prejudice screenwriter Andrew Davies. This is the first time it has ever been adapted for TV.
- The Spanish Princess (UK TV Drama?) – based on Phillipa Gregory’s novels The Constant Princess and The King’s Curse.
- Taboo – Series 2 (BBC1) – Adventurer James Keziah Delaney returns to London during the War of 1812 to rebuild his late father’s shipping empire. However, both the government and his biggest competitor want his inheritance at any cost – even murder.
- Vikings – Series 6 (Amazon) – Vikings transports us to the brutal and mysterious world of Ragnar Lothbrok, a Viking warrior and farmer who yearns to explore – and raid – the distant shores across the ocean.
- Vita and Virginia (movie) – a movie about the fascinating true story about the love affair between socialite and popular author Vita Sackville-West and literary icon Virginia Woolf.
- Where Hands Touch (movie) – A rites of passage story of a bi-racial teen struggling for survival in Nazi Germany.
- The War of Worlds (BBC1) – In London during the Edwardian era, George and Amy’s attempt to start a life together is interrupted by a Martian invasion of Earth.
- The King (Netflix) – Based on Shakespeare’s plays Henry IV and Henry V Timothee Chalamet portrays a young, disgraced prince who inherits the crown and must learn what it means to be a king, guided by his one true friend, Falstaff
- The Current War (movie) – I feel like we’ve been waiting for this one forever! The Current War tells the dramatic story of the cutthroat race between electricity titans Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to determine whose electrical system would power the modern world.
- Banking on Mr Toad (movie) – A biopic about the writer Kenneth Grahame, the birth of his iconic story “The Wind In The Willows”, and his life with wife Elspeth, and Alastair their troubled young son.
- The True History Of The Kelly Gang (movie) – Based on Peter Carey’s novel. The story of Australian bush-ranger Ned Kelly and his gang as they flee from authorities during the 1870s.
- The Lighthouse (movie) – The story of an aging lighthouse keeper named Old who lives in early 20th-century Maine.
- Jojo Rabbit (movie) – A young boy in Hitler’s army finds out his mother is hiding a Jewish boy in their home. Taika Waititi directs and features as Adolf Hitler.
- Black Narcissus (BBC2) – The series is a tale of sexual repression and forbidden love set in 1930s Nepal.
- Call The Midwife – Season 8 (BBC1) – the eight series following the lives of a group of midwives living in East London in the late 1950s to early 1960s.
- Chernobyl (Sky Atlantic) – A TV mini-series about the defining event the year I was born. In April 1986 an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the USSR becomes one of the world’s worst man-made catastrophes.
- The Singapore Grip (ITV) – The Singapore Grip is an epic story set during World War Two, centering on a British family living in Singapore at the time of the Japanese invasion.
- Summer of Rockets (BBC2) – Cold war drama following a Russian Jewish inventor and his family living in Britain.
- Tom Jones (ITV) – A new version of the 18th Century novel Tom Jones.
- The Trial of Christine Keeler (BBC1) – Story of Christine Keeler, who found herself at the heart of a political sex scandal that rocked British government in the 1960s.
- World on Fire (BBC1) – WWII drama centered on the lives of ordinary people affected by the war.
- Year of the Rabbit (Channel 4) – A historical comedy where Detective Inspector Rabbit, oft inebriated, sleuths his way across London.
- Traitors (Channel 4) – A British civil servant agrees to spy on her own government for the Americans in the aftermath of WWII.
- Pilgrimage: The Road to Rome (BBC2) FACTUAL – The acclaimed religion series Pilgrimage returns, as eight famous faces are stripped of all luxuries in an attempt to complete the gruelling 1000km ancient Via Francigena Pilgrimage, starting in the Swiss Alps and ending in St Peter’s Square, Rome.
- Catch 22 (Channel 4) – Based on Joseph Heller’s novel of the same name, Catch-22 is the story of the artful dodger Yossarian a US Air Force bombardier in World War II.
2020 and onwards
- 17th Jan 2020 – Little Women (movie) – A new film version of the classic story about four sisters coming of age in America in the aftermath of the Civil War. Directed by Greta Gershwin
- The Aspern Papers(movie) – A young writer tries to obtain romance letters a poet sent to his mistress.
- Beecham House(TV series) – A look at the lives of residents living in a Delhi mansion during the cusp of 19th century.
- Catherine The Great (movie) – Story of the greatest tsarina, Catherine the Great (played by Dame Helen Mirren) and the Hermitage.
- Josephine and Napoleon (TV series) – partly based on the biography of Josephine by Kate Williams