Ooh Mr Darcy! Rate your favourite period dramas!

By Kitty | November 9 2012 | 31 Comments

Sometimes there’s nothing quite as good as a comfy sofa, a cuppa tay and a really good period drama on the telly. But now that Downton Abbey has finished up for another series, there’s an extravagantly dressed and well mannered gap in my tv viewing. I’ve been catching up on BBC’s The Paradise, set in a department store in 19th century Newcastle, but I want more, more I say!

Period dramas are great fun to watch. They’re essentially soap operas with gorgeous sets and costumes and there’s always a plucky heroine to root for and a terribly good looking male character involved, handsomely brooding up a storm like no man’s business. Everything is wonderfully dramatic, people open wax sealed letters and gasp at the message inside, sometimes clutching their bosom in shock for extra effect, a cheeky shift could be the ruin of someone’s good reputation and if anyone starts coughing, you can bet they’ll be dead in the next hour.

Some of my favourites include the usual Austen adaptations like Sense and Sensibility (HELLO Alan Rickman in breeches), Northanger Abbey and of course the Regency juggernaut that is Pride and Prejudice. I’ll happily watch either the series that’s about a million hours long, featuring Colin Firth and his wet shirt or the film with Kiera Knightly. As long as Mr. Darcy and Lizzy Bennet are involved and people are being cross at each other while actually fancying the pants off each other, then I’m in.

There’s also Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, set in an industrialised town in the North of England and the recent Jane Eyre film, both of which boast a gorgeous man to get mad at and swoon over, in the forms of Richard Armitage as the outrageously sexy Thornton and our own fine thing Michael Fassbender as Rochester.

So I want to know, which period dramas would you recommend in the absence of our regular Downton fix? What are your favourites and who are your favourite characters?

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31 Replies to "Ooh Mr Darcy! Rate your favourite period dramas!"

  • Gracie says:

    I love all mentioned above. I’ll take Mr Darcy in any shape and form any time :D Colin Firth is amazing (Love the “Mr. Darcy Dripping Wet” tag). ;) But Matthew MacFadyen is also very good. There’s this scene under the rain with Mr Darcy and Liz. It is basically every period drama lover’s dream.

  • Sundaygirl says:

    Ooh Richard Armitage in North and South and Colin Firtg as Mr.Darcy…pair of ride bags!!Will pretty much watch any period drama though,am loving The Paradise at the minute and loved Jane Eyre in the pics!

  • LoCo says:

    Beautie is again in my head. I just last week bought Jane Eyre, North & South and Pride & Prejudice film on amazon . The Jane Eyre I previously saw was one with William Hurt & Charlotte Gainsbourg and it was great. I’ve never seen (new) Jane Eyre or North & South dying to sit down and watch them.

    I remember when Pride & Prejudice series was being shown on BBC, no series link back then everything was cancelled so I could sit in and watch it. And the suspense that built even though I had read the book and knew what was going to happen. I have a forever love for Colin Firth since.

    Adore Sense & Sensibilty, Alan Rickman is magnificent in it and adore Emma Thompsons character too.

    Other perios dramas I love Emma and Cranford.

    Parade’s End was on the BBC recently, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and it was fantastic.

  • Anna says:

    The original Upstairs Downstairs kicks Downton’s arse! It is SO good – much more complex, much better characters, much better script and much more convincing. Get the complete box set and binge! I actually really liked the recent UD revamp too.

    There was a great BBC version of Jane Eyre with Ruth Wilson and Toby “Son of Maggie Smith” Stephens a few years ago – they were both brilliant and there was real chemistry between them.

  • Ladyjane says:

    When I get into these programmes I like them. But drawing me in is an issue…. I liked lark rise to candle ford that used to be on BBC

  • Claire says:

    Loved Parade’s End earlier this year. Intelligent source material is key for quality.

    Original BBC Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle kicks the ass out of the more recent film.

    Totally concur on North & South.

    In general, will give any period drama a go. The 2nd series of updated Upstairs Downstairs was pretty rubbish, though the costumes and sets were sumptuous.

  • nevdev says:

    If you love Pride and Prejudice you should watch the Lizzie Bennet Diaries on youtube. They’re a series of webisodes based on the book but set in modern times. They come out twice a week and even though I know whats going to happen I’m seriously addicted.

  • Duckfan says:

    Oh I love a good costume drama!! I especially love Pride and Predjudice and Sense and Sensibility too! I also have been loving The Paradise, it’s wonderful! Agree about the original Upstairs, Downstairs, it was just a joy (they used to show it on rte in the mornings in the early 90’s). I used to love House of Elliott years ago too! Oh and Bleak House was amazing too!

  • Anna says:

    Duckfan, how could I forget my beloved House of Elliot! Soapy plots and the most GORGEOUS clothes. It’s my total comfort viewing – I would happily spend an entire day on the sofa with my HofE box set and a nice big plate of biscuits.

  • Eimear says:

    Anna, that’s my favourite Jane Eyre too! Love both the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice and the 2005 film. Haven’t seen Sense and Sensibility in years but I remember adoring it.

  • LynnieDoll says:

    Love them, total sucker for a period drama. Glued to Downton/Sense & Sensibility/Jane Eyre/LarkRise to Candleford/Upstairs Downstairs, both editions. In fact I will watch any versions of them.

    I think the House of Elliott was the first series I watched, until then it was only films I’d seen.
    AND NOW- I am in total delight as it seems I have missed one – North and South (what is this totally intrigued???)
    I am going to spend the next ten minutes oogling and googling…

  • Loving these recommendations, I’ll have to track down Parade’s End (love a bit of Cumberbatchloaf) and Upstairs Downstairs. I’ve never even heard of House of Elliot, so I’ll have to give that a go too!

    LynnieDoll – North and South is brilliant and Richard Armitage is CRIMINALLY gorgeous in it, which certainly doesn’t hurt!

  • thefrog says:

    Kitty, Kitty, what have you done? I’m now downloading Downton on the ipad, to keep me busy for the next few evening (can’t get the BBC where I live. Sick sad world).

    Love the Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility, and absolutely adore Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. I’m such a Jane Austen fan that I also have Persuasion (Ciaran Hinds’ one) in dvd. And Emma with Ewan McGregor.

  • Ems says:

    My first week of maternity leave was spent watching Pride & Prejudice both the film version and the Colin Firth version. Nyom, nyom. Also love Persuasion as loved the book and Sense & Sensibility.. but my time now to watch them is a bit limited :-)

  • freckleface says:

    Pride and Prejudice. It has to be the BBC production with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. Love Downtown too and of course Jane Eyre. Love reading the novels too :0)

  • sevda says:

    I do love Dowton as it’s original so like that I don’t know what will happen next. While I love the usual suspects like P and P I have seen them a millions times

    I was going to say the original upstairs downstairs – it’s on amazon but pricey enough. The remake bombed imo.

  • PinkPanther says:

    Loving the Paradise. ITV have a similar one coming out in January about Mr Selfridge. House of Elliott was fantastic. I love all the fashion ones I suppose!

  • EvieM says:

    Just saw an ad on telly, there’s a new period drama starting on the 18th at 8pm on Sky Arts 2 called Grand Hotel

  • Love Downton, love pride and prejudice, love jane eyre!!! :)

  • Sinead says:

    I love Pride and Prejudice! Did anyone see the fabulous adaptation of ‘Birdsong’ earlier this year? ‘Twas only fabulous!

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