35 Period Dramas to Watch on Acorn TV (Or Find on DVD!)

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Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

As an avid Period Drama watcher, I HAD to subscribe to Acorn TV back when season 2 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries was available there first (the wait always kills me). Ever since then, I haven’t looked back. With several fresh and lesser known British and Australian period dramas (and mysteries too) to choose from, I always have something new to check out.

  

And because I know there are several other period drama lovers out there looking for something new to watch, here are several of the period dramas now streaming on Acorn TV (Of course, you can always find these on DVD as well). As always, I aimed to pick titles with less explicit content, so if Acorn gives a mature warning, the period drama automatically got cut. It should also be noted that one of my favorite TV shows, “The Hour,” is expiring on December 6th, so I didn’t include it either. Still, if you have the time, I truly suggest you give that excellent and intelligently written romantic period series a try.

35 Period Dramas to Watch on Acorn TV

#1: Agatha Christie’s Marple (2004)

Miss Marple - Period Dramas on Acorn TV
Photo: PBS

Acorn Synopsis: Proper, demure, sharp as a tack, Agatha Christie’s spinster sleuth is brilliantly portrayed by Geraldine McEwan (1-3) and Julia McKenzie (4-5).

Why You Should Check it Out: Because Miss Marple mysteries are always a lot of fun!

#2: Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime (2015)

Partners in Crime - Acorn TV
Jessica Raine and David Walliams as Tommy and Tuppence in Partners in Crime.
Photo credit: BBC

Acorn Synopsis: Partners in Crime is an espionage adventure series about a suburban married couple, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, who solve mysteries and foil plots in ’50s Cold War Britain.

Why You Should Check it Out: Watch this one for the adorable pairing between Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife) and David Walliams.

#3: Agatha Christie’s Poirot

Poirot - Period Dramas on Acorn TV
Photo: Carnival Films

Acorn Synopsis: David Suchet stars as the dapper, diminutive Belgian who solves the most serpentine cases with the sharpest of minds and the driest of wits.

Why You Should Check it Out: Acorn TV loves mystery series and you can’t get much better than Poirot! Acorn includes even the newest episodes so you can watch the finale of the entire series.

#4: Anzac Girls (2014)

Period Dramas on Acorn TV - Anzac Girls

Acorn Synopsis: Anzac Girls is a moving series based on the unique, and rarely told true stories of Australian and New Zealand nurses serving at Gallipoli and the Western Front.

Why You Should Check it Out: With an intriguing premise, Anzac Girls offers up a unique look at WWI!

RELATED | Review of Anzac Girls

#5: A Place to Call Home (2013)

A Place to Call Home. Period Dramas on Acorn TV
George and Sarah.

Acorn Synopsis: A thoroughly addictive drama brimming with secrets, passion, romance, and intrigue, A Place to Call Home explores the ties that hold families together and the betrayals that can tear them apart.

Why You Should Check it Out: I cannot say enough good things about A Place to Call Home. Addictive is the perfect word and I cannot wait for series 3 (Acorn says it is coming soon). This period drama is one of my personal favorites.

Content Note: Every once in a while, there is mature content in this one. It’s usually, however, between TV-PG and TV-14.

RELATED | A Place to Call Home Review

#6: Blandings (2013)

Period Dramas on Acorn TV - Blandings
Blandings
Photo: BBC

Acorn Synopsis: P.G. Wodehouse’s beloved Blandings Castle stories follow the foibles of an eccentric aristocrat, his peculiar family, and the ramshackle ancestral home they share.

Why You Should Check it Out: I’ve only seen one episode so far, but with a great cast and witty script, Blandings is an enjoyable series for those with a quirky sense of humor.

#7: Brideshead Revisited (1981)

Period Dramas on Acorn TV- Brideshead Revisited

Acorn Synopsis: Adapted from the novel by Evelyn Waugh, it hasn’t lost any of its power to seduce and enchant.

Why You Should Check it Out: While I haven’t seen Brideshead Revisited yet, this period series won several awards and is very critically acclaimed. For those who’ve seen it, be sure to tune in below with your own thoughts!

#8: The Brontes of Haworth (1973)

Period Dramas on Acorn TV - The Brontes of Haworth

Acorn Synopsis: Written by poet and playwright Christopher Fry (The Lady’s Not for Burning), this period drama authentically explores the tender and tragic family history that is as much the Bronte legacy as their literary works.

Why You Should Check it Out: On my own watchlist, this is a must see for all of us Bronte fans!

#9: Cadfael (1994)

Cadfael - Period Dramas on Acorn TV

Acorn Synopsis: Sir Derek Jacobi is Brother Cadfael, a 12th-century Benedictine monk and former Crusader who uses his knowledge, skills, and intuition to solve crimes.

Why You Should Check it Out: Because Darek Jacobi as a monk solving crimes in the 12th century really sounds like nothing else out there…

#10: Cloudstreet (2011)

Cloudstreet - Period Dramas on Acorn TV

Acorn Synopsis: Set around Perth from 1943-63, it tells the story of two rural families, each scarred by catastrophe, who end up sharing a large, ramshackle house.

Why You Should Check it Out: Starring Miss Fisher’s Essie Davis, Cloudstreet is a lesser known Australian period mini-series that may turn out to be a hidden gem.

Content Note: In my research, I couldn’t discover what the actual content included other than I know there is some strong profanity.

#11: A Dance to the Music of Time (1997)

A Dance to the Music of Time - Period Dramas on Acorn TV
James Purefoy in “A Dance to the Music of Time.”

Acorn Synopsis: Four-part adaptation of Anthony Powell’s 12-volume satirical novel sequence, this series follows the history of a group of friends, starting in their schooldays together, and their lives over the next 50 years.

Why You Should Check it Out: James Purefoy and Miranda Richardson are just two of the stars in this compelling period drama.

Content Note: This is another one that I could not figure out the content rating. Be sure to chime in if you’ve seen “A Dance to the Music of Time.”

#12: The Death of the Heart (1987)

The Death of the Heart - Period Dramas on Acorn TV

Acorn Synopsis: In 1930s London, an awkward 16-year-old struggles to find herself through a disastrous love affair. Starring Robert Hardy (All Creatures Great and Small), Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow), and Patricia Hodge (Miranda).

Why You Should Check it Out: Based on an Elizabeth Bowen novel, The Death of the Heart is a romantic TV movie with a wonderful cast that seems almost forgotten except for Acorn TV online streaming. Indeed, I can’t even find this one on DVD (even on Acorn Online). I will definitely be watching this one soon while it is still available.

#13: Edward and Mrs. Simpson (1978)

Edward & Mrs. Simpson - Period Dramas on Acorn TV

Acorn Synopsis: While still the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII meets the married American socialite, Wallis Simpson. Their relationship causes furor in the palace and in parliament, especially when King George V dies.

Why You Should Check it Out: A well received period drama that tells the true story of a royal scandal.

#14: Father Brown (1974)

Father Brown - Period Dramas on Acorn TV

Acorn Synopsis: Eyes twinkling behind his spectacles, Kenneth More is G.K. Chesterton’s wily detective in this classic British series.

Why You Should Check it Out: British mysteries are almost always so much more interesting than American procedurals…

#15: Foyle’s War (2002)

Period Dramas on Acorn TV- Foyle's War
Photo: ITV

Acorn Synopsis: While WWII rages across the Channel, police detective Christopher Foyle reluctantly remains on duty in his quiet English coastal town. Series 9 sees Foyle investigating cases involving international oil politics, anti-Semitism, and the wartime activities of the SOE.

Why You Should Check it Out: Foyle’s War is definitely one of the best period dramas you can find because the characters and actors are so fabulous! This is a definite must see. Plus, Acorn TV has all 9 seasons.

#16: George Gently (2007)

Period Dramas on Acorn TV- George Gently
George Gently in Series 6.

Acorn Synopsis: A former Scotland Yard sleuth now tracking murders in Britain’s North Country, George Gently (Tony nominee Martin Shaw) is an old-time copper in the rapidly changing 1960s.

Why You Should Check it Out: While I haven’t seen George Gently yet, Acorn TV is definitely the place to go if you like period drama mystery shows.

Content Note: From my research, I discovered there are some violence and occasional profanity.

#17: The Grand (1997)

The Grand - Period Dramas on Acorn TV
Photo: ITV

Acorn Synopsis: Set in the Roaring ’20s, the Grand hotel is a nexus for schemes, scandals, romance, and intrigue among guests and staff members alike.

Why You Should Check it Out: From Doctor Who writer Russell T. Davies, The Grand is a perfect choice for Downton Abbey fans with stories from both the upstairs and downstairs.

#18: The Irish R.M. (1983)

The Irish RM - Period Dramas on Acorn TV

Acorn Synopsis: Classic series based on the on the turn-of-the-century stories by Somerville and Ross. Peter Bowles (Rumpole of the Bailey, To the Manor Born) stars as Major Sinclair Yeates, a retired English army officer who becomes a Resident Magistrate in pre-independence West Ireland.

Why You Should Check it Out: A perfect find if you love British drama comedies. While the accents are a little thick, once you become accustomed to the Irish accents, this is a fun series that is appropriate for the entire family.

#19: Island at War (2004)

Island at war
Photo: ITV

Acorn Synopsis: Seen on Masterpiece Theatre, this haunting British drama blends heart-pounding suspense with unexpected romance.

Why You Should Check it Out: With a good cast and script, Island at War is an entertaining period drama (at least from what I’ve seen thus far) that unfortunately got cut short.

Content Note: I’ve been told there is some nudity in this one.

#20: Jamaica Inn (2014)

The Irish RM - Period Dramas on Acorn TV - Jamaica Inn
Jem and Mary in Jamaica Inn.

Acorn Synopsis: Based on the beloved gothic novel by Daphne Du Maurier, Jamaica Inn follows Mary Yellan, an orphan sent to the rugged coast of Cornwall to live with her aunt. Mary is met by a brutish, menacing man- her uncle, Joss. She soon learns that no guests stay at the inn, and Joss is part of a savage gang of smugglers.

Why You Should Check it Out: If you love gothic romances, you can’t go wrong with this adaptation of Jamaica Inn. Aside from the gripping plot, the love story between Jem (Matthew McNulty) and Mary (Jessica Brown Findlay) is totally swoon-worthy. I think the picture showcases these two’s amazing chemistry…

RELATED | Jamaica Inn Review

Check out Page 2 for more period drama recommendations!

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Autumn Topping

CO-FOUNDER, EDITOR, & DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL MEDIA

"Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worthwhile," L.M. Montgomery. In second grade, Autumn wrote her first story, “The Spinach Monster,” and hasn't stopped writing since. Intrigued by the tales her grandmother told of vampires, witches, and ghosts as a girl, she's always been drawn to the fantastic. Later, Autumn studied English and Creative Writing (continuing her love for classic literature and everything old-fashioned) and also graduated with an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons College. Currently, she co-runs this lovely blog and works at The New York Public Library as a YA Librarian.

  • Dixie88

    I am not a fan of the Agatha Christie series. And “A Place to Call Home’ is depressing to say the least. The first episode turned me off, dwelling over & over & over again on the agony of a horse who broke its leg, it being shot, shrieking in agony. Relived in flash backs. I do not call that entertainment!

    • Margaret Johnson Barnard

      Thank you so much for sparing me from watching agony disguised as entertainment!

      • I think “A Place to Call Home” deserves more than what Dixie88 described it as. Some of the best characterization on TV!

  • Margaret Johnson Barnard

    I was very disappointed at Marple’s Agatha Christie. Wonderful characters deleted, and the motive becoming a lesbian affair.

    • I don’t even remember to which episode you are referring, but I personally found the series rather entertaining as a whole! Perhaps you would like other episodes.

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