Damian Lewis and Mark Rylance as Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell in the BBC miniseries 'Wolf Hall'

‘Wolf Hall’ – power and privilege on Amazon Prime

The BBC historical miniseries Wolf Hall (2015) stars Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell (not to be confused with Oliver Cromwell), advisor and legal counsel to Cardinal Wolsey and King Henry VIII. Rylance is a theatrical legend in Britain but not so well known in the U.S., although that’s changing thanks to his sublime performance in […]

Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle star in the 1995 mini-series

The definitive ‘Pride and Prejudice’ on HBO Max and BritBox

Pride and Prejudice (1995) – Movies are great for spectacle but the miniseries format has the luxury of time. This co-production between the BBC and the American cable channel A&E is still considered by Jane Austen fans to be the definitive adaptation of Austen’s most famous novel and her work in general. Jennifer Ehle is […]

Ian Richardson stars in the original BBC mini-series

The original British ‘House of Cards’ on Amazon Prime and Hoopla

The original The House of Cards Trilogy, a series of BBC mini-series produced in the 1990s, stars Ian Richardson as Francis Urqhart (F.U. to his friends), the Machiavellian Chief Whip of Britain’s conservative party and the most seductively ruthless politician you’ve ever had the pleasure to watch claw his way to the top (over the […]

Ricky Gervais stars on the BBC comedy 'The Office'

The original British ‘The Office’ on HBO Max

“You can’t put a price on comedy.” In the original The Office (2001-2003), creator/co-writer/co-director Ricky Gervais stars as David Brent, the insufferably self-satisfied office manager of a paper company branch who fancies himself a born comedian and a natural leader. He’s wrong about both, naturally, but his yes-man team-leader Gareth (Mackenzie Crook), a brown-noser with […]

David Tennant stars in the British mini-series based on the Alan Furst novel.

‘Spies of Warsaw’ – WWII espionage on Amazon Prime Video

Spies of Warsaw (2013), adapted by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais from the novel by Alan Furst, has an almost old-fashioned clarity to it. It’s set in 1937 Poland, and Germany is quietly amassing troops outside the border. David Tennant continued his post-Doctor Who career redefinition playing French military attaché Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier, an […]

Bertie Carvel and Eddie Marsan are 'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell' in the BBC adaptation of Susanna Clarke's novel.

‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2015), adapted from the dense, richly-woven debut novel by Susanna Clarke, brings a different of approach to fantasy fiction and the idea of magic in the real world. Set in 19th century England, at the start of the Napoleonic Wars, it weaves the tale of two magicians—Mr. Norrell (Eddie Marsan), […]

Michael Palin, Carol Cleveland, and the group in 'The Lumberjack Song'

The Essential ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ on Netflix

And now for something completely different. In 1969, five overeducated British comics and an American illustrator ambushed the BBC with the strangest show in British history. How they got on the air is anyone’s guess (rumors of blackmail were quickly hushed, though the Python’s penchant for sheep gags… but enough of speculation), but their irreverent […]

Una Stubbs, Simon Callow, Virginia McKenna, and Bernard Hill star in the British caper comedy

‘Golden Years’ – Senior citizen crime wave on Amazon Prime Video and Acorn TV

Golden Years (2016) – Think of this caper comedy as a British twist on Going in Style with a side of social commentary on the treatment of aging pensioners. Bernard Hill and Virginia McKenna star as retirees who have lost their retirement savings in the financial crisis and turn to robbing banks, targeting the bonuses […]