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The 25 Best BritBox Shows with Romance to Stream Right Now

These are the best BritBox shows for Anglophiles in the mood for romance!

The 25 Best BritBox Shows with Romance to Stream Right Now

When it comes to deciding which BritBox shows to watch, it’s hard to know what to stream next. (Though who isn’t always in the mood for watching Colin First as Mr. Darcy?) If you’re like me, it probably depends on your mood.

On BritBox, you’ll find mysteries, soaps, classics, sitcoms, drama, and their popular romantic period drama series and miniseries. From Pride and Prejudice to Jane Eyre, no one does the romantic series quite like the British with their smoldering stares and swoon-worthy dialogue.

So, what currently are the best BritBox shows to watch when you’re in the mood for romance?

The list below of BritBox shows include different genres to match every mood. From a contemporary spy series with great TV couples to romantic dramas to classic rom-com sitcoms.

Now, if you’re into super explicit romance stories, this probably isn’t the list for you. However, if you’re in the mood for some sweet, classic romances or some engaging dramas and comedies, check out this list of the 25 best BritBox shows to stream with love stories right now! There’s something here for everyone.

Best BritBox Shows with Romance

(in alphabetical order)

1. Aristocrats (1999)

aristocrats promotional image
Photo: BBC

BritBox Synopsis: Based on a true story by Stella Tillyard, a chronicle of the turbulent lives of the Lennox sisters, daughters of the Duke of Richmond, in the eighteenth century.

Why You Should Watch: This British miniseries has a fantastic cast telling fascinating stories about real women from history. It’s an intriguing series you won’t want to miss!

Content Note: TV-14

2. As Time Goes By (1992-2005)

As Time Goes by promotional image; best britbox shows with romance
Photo: BBC

BritBox SynopsisLove gets a second chance – 38 years on – in this warm and witty comedy. Sweethearts Jean (Judi Dench) and Lionel lost touch after a whirlwind romance in the early 1950s but are reunited when Lionel returns to England to write his memoirs.

Why You Should Watch: Judi Dench stars in this sweet romance series full of nostalgia.

Content Note: TV-PG

3. Ballykissangel (1996-2001)

Ballykissangel - best BritBox shows with romance
Photo: BBC

BritBox SynopsisA young English priest discovers that life in a rural Irish village isn’t what he expected. For starters, he must contend with driving and local gossip-mongers.

Why You Should Watch: If you enjoy quirky small-town shows and slow-building romance, this is must-watch television! There’s an intriguing forbidden romance between a priest and a pub owner.

Content Note: TV-PG

4. Bleak House (2005)

Bleak House poster with the cast; best Britbox shows
Photo: BBC

BritBox SynopsisGillian Anderson and Denis Lawson head a star-studded cast as acclaimed writer Andrew Davies turns his talents to one of Charles Dickens’ most brilliant novels – arguably the greatest ever depiction of Victorian London. At its heart is the story of the icily beautiful Lady Dedlock, who nurses a dark secret, and merciless lawyer Tulkinghorn, who seeks to uncover it.

Why You Should Watch: This romantic period drama miniseries is brilliant and was even nominated for 2 Golden Globes.

Content Note: TV-PG

5. Brideshead Revisited (1981)

Brideshead Revisited poster

BritBox SynopsisEvelyn Waugh’s drama about a generation of wealthy, careless, independent men and women clinging to a way of life eroded by one war and soon to be swept away by another. Starring Anthony Andrews and Jeremy Irons.

Why You Should Watch: For the excellent script and acting. The miniseries deservedly won numerous awards.

Content Note: TV-14

6. Cranford (2007-2010)

Judi Dench and Michael Gambon in Cranford.
Photo: BBC

BritBox SynopsisThe incomparable Judi Dench stars in this story of Cranford, a small-town hub of intrigue where everyone talks – and everyone is talked about. The town is on the cusp of change, and the lives of its residents push ever forward.

Why You Should Watch: Cranford is simply delightful! With an all-star cast including Judi Dench, Eileen Watkins, Michael Gambon, Tom Hiddleston (season 2), and more, this is a romantic series worth your time.

Content Note: TV-PG

7. David Copperfield (1999)

promotional image of David Copperfield with Daniel Radcliffe - best BritBox shows
Photo: BBC

BritBox SynopsisDramatization of the classic Charles Dickens novel. A young man attempts to overcome adversity after he is sent away by his stepfather.

Why You Should Watch: This is the best adaptation of the famous novel to date! Plus, it includes a fabulous cast such as Maggie Smith, Daniel Radcliffe, Ian McKellen, Imelda Staunton, and Bob Hoskins.

Content Note: TV-PG

8. Dickensian (2015-2016)

Dickensian promotional image
Photo: BBC

BritBox SynopsisSet within the fictional realms of Charles Dickens’ novels, Dickensian brings together some of literature’s most iconic characters, including Scrooge, Fagin, and Miss Havisham, as their lives intertwine in 19th century London. With a wealth of backstories sourced from the novels, Dickensian delivers fast-paced storylines with surprising twists and turns.

Why You Should Watch: If you enjoy literary prequels or retellings, you’ll want to watch this underrated series. It’s like Once Upon a Time but with Charles Dickens’ characters and much darker.

Content Note: TV-PG

9. The Doctor Blake Mysteries (2013-2017)

The Doctor Blake Mysteries DVD cover; included in best Britbox shows with romance list

BritBox SynopsisSet in 1959, after decades away from his native Australia, Blake returns to his rural hometown to run his late father’s medical practice. But his inquisitive nature draws him into the task of solving murders that perplex local law enforcement.

Why You Should Watch: If you enjoy romantic mystery shows, this Australian series should work just fine! It’s wonderfully acted with a romance everyone will root for.

Content Note: TV-14

10. Doctor Zhivago (2002)

Doctor Zhivago promotional image; best britbox shows with romance
Photo: ITV/PBS

BritBox SynopsisThe sweep and scale of the Russian Revolution acts as the backdrop for the intense and ultimately heart-breaking love story of Doctor Yury Zhivago, the physician and poet who wrestles with the anguish of being torn between the love of two women, Tonya and Lara.

Why You Should Watch: While it’s not as good as the classic ’65 adaptation, it is well done. I also think Keira Knightley was a little too young for the role, but it’s still a good miniseries with an excellent cast, including Sam Neill.

Content Note: TV-14 for some explicit love scenes.

11. Emma (2009)

Romola Garai in Emma; best BritBox shows with romance
Photo: BBC

BritBox SynopsisRomola Garai is Jane Austen’s fickle heroine, fatally convinced she is good at matchmaking, but unaware she is playing a dangerous game that might finally force her to grow up.

Why You Should Watch: Arguably the greatest adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel, the miniseries length gives ample time to explore the characters. Plus, Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller are perfect onscreen together.

Content Note: TV-PG

12. Gavin & StacEy (2007)

Gavin & Stacey DVD cover

BritBox Synopsis: After months of phone flirting, Gavin and Stacey are going to meet. Gav brings Smithy. Stacey brings Ness. So begins three seasons of dirty, sweet comedy. So get cracking.

Why You Should Watch: The romantic sitcom was a breakout hit and is one of the most-watched comedies ever from the UK. Now, I have not seen more than the first episode so far, but if you like British comedies and love James Corden, check this one out.

Content Note: TV-14 for some explicit content and strong language.

13. Great Expectations (1999)

Great Expectations 1999 poster

BritBox Synopsis: Violence and Victorian gentility meet in one of Dickens’ greatest creations, and this adaptation is appropriately dark, sometimes savagely comic, and wholly unsentimental.

Why You Should Watch: Ioan Gruffudd is the king of starring in good period dramas! The ’99 miniseries is my favorite version of the novel, mostly because I love the actors.

Content Note: TV-G on BritBox but TV-14 elsewhere.

14. Jane Eyre (2006)

Jane Eyre 2006 promotional image; best Britbox shows with romance
Photo: BBC

BritBox SynopsisDramatization of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel.

Why You Should Watch: If you’ve never seen an adaptation of Jane Eyre, the 2006 miniseries is the one to watch! It has a fantastic script, and the romantic chemistry between Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens sizzles onscreen. It’s definitely one of the best Britbox shows to watch!

Content Note: TV-PG

15. Lark Rise to Candleford (2008)

lark rise to candleford photo
Photo: BBC

BritBox SynopsisRich, funny and emotional, the first season follows the relationship of two contrasting communities. Seen through the eyes of young Laura, their inhabitants endure many upheavals and struggles as the inexorable change comes; their stories by turns poignant, spirited and uplifting.

Why You Should Watch: If you enjoy heartwarming romantic period dramas, trust me, this series will become your one weakness! It’s an addictive and outstanding drama series.

Content Note: TV-PG

16. Lost in Austen (2008)

Lost in Austen publicity still; best shows on BritBox with romance
Photo: ITV

BritBox SynopsisBored bank worker Amanda Price literally becomes lost in her favourite Austen book, after she finds a portal in her bathroom and swaps places with its heroine Elizabeth Bennet.

Why You Should Watch: If you’re into any fandom, or have ever dreamed of marrying your own Mr. Darcy, you won’t want to miss this hilarious and fun take on Pride and Prejudice.

Content Note: TV-14

17. MI-5/SPOOKS (2002-2011)

MI-5 (Spooks) publicity photo; best britbox shows
Photo: BBC

BritBox SynopsisWelcome to the thrilling underworld of MI-5, Britain’s clandestine security service and the elite spy team who work around the clock to safeguard the nation against organized crimes, terrorist activities, embassy sieges and so much more.

Why You Should Watch: If you enjoy romantic spy series, you’ll love MI-5. It stars actors like Peter Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, Sophia Myles, Hermione Norris, Rupert Penry-Jones, and more. There’s also a compelling romance between Keeley Hawes and David Oyelowo, among other engaging love stories. Just don’t expect a bunch of happy endings.

Content Note: TV-14

18. The Moonstone (2016)

The Moonstone DVD cover; best BritBox shows

BritBox SynopsisFive-part drama series based on the detective novel by Wilkie Collins in which a man must find a stolen diamond to win the heart of the love of his life.

Why You Should Watch: The Moonstone is considered the first detective novel! This lovely adaptation of the book is a fun and entertaining watch.

Content Note: TV-PG

19. Our Girl (2014-)

Our Girl promotional photo; best Britbox shows
Photo: BBC

BritBox SynopsisSeason One is the story of East London lass Molly Dawes’ emotional rite-of-passage as a young medic and woman in the British Army’s final deployment of troops to Afghanistan.

Why You Should Watch: There is a lot of romance in this military-themed show! See our romantic moment about Molly and Captain James for more persuading (beware of spoilers though).

Content Note: TV-14

20. Pride and Prejudice (1995)

Photo: BBC

BritBox SynopsisColin Firth in his wet shirt was the television moment of the 90s. This irresistible, sophisticated and sexy saga launched Firth and Jennifer Ehle to international fame and inspired a modern Jane Austen renaissance.

Why You Should Watch: It’s the ultimate romantic period drama! If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it as soon as possible. The Jane Austen adaptation is a modern masterpiece.

Content Note: TV-PG

21. The Sally Lockhart Mysteries (2006-2007)

Ruby in the Smoke promotional image (the Sally Lockhart Mysteries); best BritBox shows with romance
Photo: BBC

BritBox SynopsisHeroine Sally Lockhart (Billie Piper) is recently orphaned and on the quest for the truth. Matt Smith (Doctor Who) co-stars in his first professional role.

Why You Should Watch: The romantic mystery series (only two episodes) is must-watch television for Doctor Who fans. But it also stars JJ Field as the love interest for Billie Piper. And yeah, he just excels at romance. Hayley Atwell also stars.

Content Note: TV-PG

22. Small Island (2009)

Small Island DVD cover; best BritBox shows

BritBox SynopsisHortense (Naomie Harris) is a young Jamaican woman thrust into the grit of 1940s post-war London. Ruth Wilson, David Oyelowo, and Benedict Cumberbatch co-star.

Why You Should Watch: Watch for the fantastic cast! If you’re in the mood for a more serious drama (and don’t mind some explicit content), this BAFTA-winning period drama is a good pick.

Content Note: TV-MA for a couple of explicit love scenes and some strong language so watch with caution.

23. Tutankhamun (2016)

Tutankhamun photo; best BritBox shows with romance
Photo: ITV

BritBox SynopsisThe true story of Howard Carter’s epic quest to discover the lost tomb of the Boy-King Tutankhamun, set against the sweeping backdrop of an Egypt caught in the violent spasms of World War One and Revolution.

Why You Should Watch: This one’s for people in the mood for escapist entertainment.

Content Note: TV-14

24. Upstairs, Downstairs (original and new continuation)

Upstairs Downstairs with Keeley Hawes; best Britbox shows
Photo: BBC

BritBox Synopsis (original)Popular period drama series. 30 years in the life of the Bellamy family and their below stairs servants between the years 1903 and 1930.

BritBox Synopsis (2010 continuation): Jean Marsh returns as maid Rose Buck, six years after the classic Seventies period drama ended. It is 1936, and 165 Eaton Place has a new family moving in.

Why You Should Watch: It was one of the most popular period drama series to ever air in Britain! If you like shows like Downton Abbey, you should enjoy this one.

Content Note: TV-PG

25. The Vicar of Dibley (1994-2015)

the vicar of dibley poster with dawn french and richard armitage; best britbox shows

BritBox SynopsisDawn French stars in this beloved BAFTA-winning sitcom as the Vicar of the sleepy rural parish of Dibley. Co-written and created by Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Love Actually).

Why You Should Watch: It’s one of the funniest shows ever to be on television, and there is a lot of romance. The most romantic episodes are the last couple of episodes with Richard Armitage, and they are perfect.

Content Note: TV-PG

What do you think are the best BritBox shows with romance to watch? What’s your favorite on this list? Let me know in the comments.

Featured image: Jane Eyre, Ballykissangel, and The Ruby in the Smoke (The Sally Lockhart Mysteries). Photo Credit: BBC

The 25 Best BritBox Shows with Romance to Stream Right Now - Pinterest image


By on August 4th, 2020

About Amber Topping

Amber works as a writer and digital publisher full-time and fell in love with stories and imagination at an early age. She has a Humanities and Film Degree from BYU, co-created The Silver Petticoat Review, contributed as a writer to various magazines, and has an MS in Publishing from Pace University, where she received the Publishing Award of Excellence and wrote her thesis on transmedia, Jane Austen, and the romance genre. Her ultimate dreams are publishing books, writing and producing movies, traveling around the world, and forming a creative village of talented storytellers trying to change the world through art.

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