Recently, the British Christmas schedule revealed plenty of period drama love to go around! Here are some period dramas and specials to get you excited over the holiday season. And, hopefully, these will soon also become available in the U.S. and all over the world. Thankfully, some are already headed our way. And on Christmas Day too!
British Christmas 2017 Period Drama Watchlist
(No Particular Order)
#1: Little Women
Not since Winona Ryder as Jo March has there been a Little Women production with so much promise. From the creator of Call the Midwife, Heidi Thomas, and a remarkable cast including Michael Gambon and the legendary Angela Lansbury, this is one period drama you don’t want to miss.
Where To Watch: The 3-part miniseries premieres on BBC One after Christmas. It airs Tuesday and Wednesday, December 26th and 27th at 8 pm and on Thursday at 8:30 pm. Little Women premieres on PBS in May. The classic will air May 13th and May 20th, 2018 at 8/7 c on Masterpiece.
#2: Doctor Who Christmas Special: ‘Twice Upon A Time’
Official Synopsis: “The magical final chapter of the Twelfth Doctor’s (Peter Capaldi) journey sees the Time Lord team up with his former self, the first ever Doctor (David Bradley – Harry Potter, Game of Thrones) and a returning Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie), for one last adventure. Two Doctors stranded in an Arctic snowscape, refusing to face regeneration. Enchanted glass people, stealing their victims from frozen time. And a World War One captain destined to die on the battlefield, but taken from the trenches to play his part in the Doctor’s story. An uplifting new tale about the power of hope in humanity’s darkest hours, Twice Upon A Time marks the end of an era. But as the Doctor must face his past to decide his future, his journey is only just beginning…”
Where To Watch: Tune in for the end of the 12th Doctor on BBC AND BBC America December 25th! On BBC1, it broadcasts at 5:30 PM. Anyone else excited for the new showrunner and first female Doctor?
#3: The Miniaturist
PBS Synopsis: In 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman (Taylor-Joy) knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. Full of hopes and dreams, she has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt (Hassell). But instead of Johannes, she’s met by his cold sister Marin (Garai) and their servants (Squires, Essiedu) and quickly realizes that nothing is as it seems in the Brandt household. When Johannes finally appears he presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet that is a miniature replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive Miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror what is happening within the house in unexpected ways and seem to be predicting and unravelling the future with unsettling precision.
As Nella begins to uncover its secrets and those of the Brandt household she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the Miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation or the architect of their downfall?
Where To Watch: Watch this period drama adaptation starring Romola Garai on BBC One. Look for The Miniaturist after Christmas on December 26th and December 27th at 9 PM. Unknown premiere date on PBS in the US. I believe we can safely assume, however, it will air sometime in 2018. Hopefully, sooner rather than later!
#4: Call the Midwife Christmas Special
Call the Midwife is back with one of the coldest winters in 300 years!
Where to Watch: The British Christmas Special airs on BBC1 on Christmas Day at 7:40 PM. Thankfully, the same special airs on PBS in the US on December 25th at 9:00 PM EST. Check your local times.
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#5: Grandpa’s Great Escape
Radiotimes Synopsis: “David Walliams’ tale is set in the 1980s and follows Grandpa – a World War II flying ace – whose Alzheimer’s reaches the point where his family can no longer look after him and he moves into an old people’s home called Twilight Towers, run by Miss Dandy.
But it’s not long before her ulterior motives are revealed and, with the help of his grandson Jack, Grandpa plans a daring escape. Will he succeed and have one final chance to take to the sky in his beloved Spitfire?”
Where To Watch: Catch this family film on BBC1 New Year’s Day at 6:55 PM. No news on a US premiere date.
#6: Upstart Crow Christmas Special
Upstart Crow is a comedy about the early days of Shakespeare. And, in a special Christmas special, Emma Thompson will be joining the cast as Queen Elizabeth I! You can never go wrong with Emma Thompson.
Where to Watch: Upstart Crow plays on BBC Two Christmas Day at 8:25 PM. As for the U.S., series one of Upstart Crow can be found on Britbox. One can only assume, the Christmas special will eventually be added as well.
#7: Victoria Christmas Special
Christmas PBS Synopsis (Season 2 Finale): “Albert is intent on re-creating the Christmastime joy he remembers from his youth. Victoria has more than one surprise visitor and finds herself threatened by a relative. Meanwhile, the festive spirit sparks romantic tension throughout the palace.”
Where To Watch: In the UK, you can tune into the special Christmas Day at 9 PM on ITV. In the US, Season 2 begins on January 14, 2018 at 9 PM on PBS. The Christmas special airs on February 25, 2018 as the season 2 finale.
#8: Father Brown Christmas Special
Season 6 of the period drama cozy mystery series returns in December for a special Christmas episode. Father Brown fans won’t want to miss this mysterious cold case!
Where to Watch: Father Brown returns to BBC 1 on December 18th at 1:45 PM. Currently, Netflix streams the first five seasons of Father Brown. No word on season 6 yet. Only time will tell!
#9: Howard’s End
Starring Hayley Atwell and Matthew McFadyen, Howard’s End currently airs on BBC. Only one episode left! With this stellar cast, the period drama production of the classic E.M. Forster novel definitely looks promising.
Where To Watch: The E.M. Forster miniseries broadcasts its final episode tomorrow night on BBC One. Thankfully, Starz already picked up the show. It will be released in April 2018.
#10: The Crown
The Crown returns to Netflix, following more of Queen Elizabeth II’s life in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s also the last season for Claire Foy and Matt Smith before they are replaced. I expect their final season to be just as brilliant as the first!
Where To Watch: Season 2 premieres globally on Netflix December 8th!
BBC Two plans to broadcast Mathew Bourne’s Cinderella Ballet. Plus, Miranda Hart (Chummy and Miranda fans rejoice!) is hosting a Christmas Special about surviving the holidays. Miranda Does Christmas will air on Channel 4!
For those of us who live in the US, PBS is also premiering Young Hyacinth, a comedic period drama set in the 1950s. It premieres in December. Check your local listings. As an extra bonus, PBS will also re-broadcast The Making of A Lady on December 10th at 9:30 PM ET.
What period dramas do you plan on watching this holiday season? Sound off below…
Little Women Photo Credit: Courtesy of MASTERPIECE on PBS, BBC, and Playground