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20 Best TV Shows Like Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey is one of the most beloved period dramas ever to grace the screen. Full of a diverse collection of characters, from the high-brow aristocracy to the common servants downstairs. Its convoluted plot threads and high drama captured the imagination of the world over.

Now that the series is over and fans have finished the hotly anticipated first film, perhaps they’re in need of something new to watch? Do they need more of these excellent British actors but in a new genre? Or perhaps they want some more of that period drama goodness but with a brand new set of characters following their viewing of the 2022 film? These shows are perfect additions to a fans’ list of what to watch after Downtown Abbey.


Updated on May 23rd, 2022 by Amanda Bruce: The recent release of Downton Abbey: A New Era has got fans of the show wanting more again but there’s good news for fans craving more Downtown Abbey. In addition to the six seasons of television and two movies set in the Downtown universe, there are a lot of television shows that take similar approaches to their storytelling. In the age of streaming, there’s no shortage of period pieces for fans to explore, especially in the wake of the equally popular adaptation of Bridgerton on Netflix. 

Cable Girls (2017-2020)

Alba smoking and other main characters working in Cable Girls
  • Available to stream on Netflix

This Spanish Netflix series isn’t set in the English countryside, but in Spain, and in the 1920s. It doesn’t have a lot in common with Downtown Abbey if fans are looking for the same setting, but it does in terms of social dynamics and the era.

RELATED: Our 10 Biggest Unanswered Questions From The Downton Abbey Movie

If what intrigues fans about Downtown Abbey are the complex relationships between the show’s female characters and the stories of women figuring out their place in society, then Cable Girls is certainly for them. It centers on four women who get jobs working for the phone company, but for very different reasons, as their stories intersect.

Bridgerton (2020- )

bridgerton season 2 daphne basset and francesca gregory hyacinth violet benedict anthony bridgerton
  • Available to stream on Netflix

Set in a very different era as Bridgerton combines the real history of Regency England with fictional stories adapted from romance novels, the series is certainly steamier than Downtown Abbey.

The relationships amongst the Bridgerton family, however, give the stories the same insular feel of Downtown’s being centered on the same household. Both series also follow the relationship dynamics of several characters over years, not just romantic, but familial and professional. Bridgerton is the soapier successor to Downtown.

Foyle’s War (2002-2015)

Foyle's War Foyle and Stewart
  • Available to stream on Prime Video

Foyle’s War is a British series for the mystery-lovers in the Downtown Abbey audience. It’s not all set in the English countryside, but it’s still got plenty of the same charm.

The series takes place in the aftermath of World War II for the most part, but it’s not a war series. Instead, it focuses on Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle while he investigates all manner of crimes on English soil. The bulk of the stories are focused on everyday crime, but there are plenty of counterintelligence threats to investigate in the wake of the war as well.

Dickinson (2019-2021)

  • Available to stream on AppleTV

For fans who wish Downtown Abbey featured more poetry and queer love stories, there’s Dickinson. While it centers on famous poet Emily Dickinson as a young woman, it does take a lot of liberties with history, like events happening in the wrong order or changing the ages of people to better serve the story being told.

All of that can be forgiven because the series is both charming and dramatic, highlighting just how social conventions stifled so many people in Dickinson’s day just as some characters find themselves trapped by societal rules in Downtown Abbey.

Reign (2013-2017)

Reign Queen Mary Angry
  • Available to stream on Netflix

Like both Dickinson and Bridgerton, Reign takes a lot of liberty with history, but it is inspired by real historical figures. Set primarily in France instead of England, the bulk of the story focuses on the love life of Mary, Queen of Scots, while she lives in France and still tries to maintain her connections to Scotland.

RELATED: What Happened To Kenna? (And The Fates Of The Other Reign Characters)

Of course, the series features plenty of scandal amongst Mary and her ladies in waiting, but it also highlights the tensions created when the different royal families of the era had different religious beliefs. Much of the conflict in the story is centered on that particular social divide.

All Creatures Great And Small (1978-1990)

  • Available to stream on BritBox

Based on the books by veterinary surgeon Alf Wight, All Creatures Great and Small is a mix of country living in the 1930s and watching cows give birth. Premiering in 1978, the show focuses on James Herriot, a veterinarian who joins a practice in the Yorkshire Dales. The first run of the series was based on the books while the second contained original stories that led up to World War II.

All Creatures is a quiet show with glorious filmed views of the British countryside. It also features Peter Davidson as another vet — the owner’s little brother. Fans of Doctor Who know Peter as the fifth Doctor. It might be interesting to see how his character on the All Creatures differs from the one he portrayed later. The series also has a 2020 remake now airing.

The 1900 House (1999)

  • Currently unavailable to stream

The 1900 House placed a late-20th century family into an early-20th century environment for a three-month period. During that time, they had to dress, eat, and do chores families would do in the late Victorian era. Actually, the ladies would do all the chores, as was the norm in 1900.

The award-winning UK version of the show, which aired on BBC Channel 4, revealed how family dynamics were changed as they lived in a setting where refrigerators, portable phones, and indoor plumbing were not available. A few years later, Channel 4 created The Edwardian Country House. This featured a family of five and 14 servants who lived in a Scottish country home.

EastEnders (1985- )

  • Available to stream on BritBox

There is no quiet British charm in this series. Instead, viewers of EastEnders get a daily dose of the soap opera drama that Downton Abbey did so well. Based in the East End of London, the show has been on the air since 1985. It continues to be not only popular, but also an award-winning program.

The show’s initial family, the Beale-Fowlers, continue to remain the focal point. It’s around them that the daily activities of the borough of Walford spin. Like American soaps, there are good and bad times for those who live in the area. Fans might not initially see the series as a show like Downtown Abbey, but, EastEnders is a program that shows how life might have been for the Crawley family if their fortunes had turned.

Home Fires (2015-2016)

  • Available to stream through Prime Video

Home Fires is a drama that looks at life as World War II starts to ramp up for the UK. It focuses on members of the Women’s Institute, a charitable organization formed at the end of the 19th century. With a rural setting, Home Fires has the insular feel that Downton Abbey had.

RELATED: Each Main Character’s Most Iconic Scene In Downton Abbey

The show really digs into this community setting. For instance, the first episode shows the WI ladies gathering wild blackberries to make homemade jam. As war is declared, these women worry about their husbands and children going into battle and how they will deal with day-to-day activities when it happens. Through its two series, Home Fires shows how people tried to maintain their daily routines in the midst of regular bombing raids.

Mr. Selfridge (2013-2016)

  • Available to stream through Prime Video

Set in the same timeframe of Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge looks at London’s retail world in the first two decades of the 20th century. The series stars Entourage actor Jeremy Piven as the real-life Harry Gordon Selfridge. For 20 years, the man became a retail magnate by opening and managing the London-based Selfridge’s department store.

Selfridge’s goal was to bring the American style of shopping to London. He made it an adventure instead of a chore. The series focuses on the rough start of his venture and how it survived during World War I and the Roaring Twenties.

Legion (2017-2019)

  • Available to stream on Hulu

One of the upsides to Downton Abbey is its quiet charm. Nestled in the Yorkshire countryside, Downton is normally a charming and relaxing affair, full of the eccentricities of a historical British drama. Legion is anything but that.

This bizarre psychedelic superhero series is the complete antithesis to Downton Abbey. But, one thing it shares is the lead Dan Stevens. One of the biggest blows to Downton was the loss of Dan Stevens, and if fans are still in dire need of more Dan Stevens content, Legion is their best bet.

Call The Midwife (2012- )

Call The Midwife
  • Available to stream on Netflix

Call The Midwife is equally as charming and delightful of a show as Downton Abbey, but just a bit more down to earth. This series follows, as its title might suggest, the lives of midwives. Set in post-war Britain, the series explores many of the highlights of the 20th century and how they directly impact the lives of these nurses.

The series was loosely based on the memoirs of real-life midwife Jennifer Worth but has since grown beyond to capture the real-life stories of multiple women. It explores the expanding role of women in post-war Britain, the growing baby boom, and the ever-changing world of the mid-century.

Peaky Blinders (2013-2022)

  • Available to stream on Netflix

Downton explored a fascinating point in British history, right between the first world war and the second. If fans loved exploring this era, but wanted a bit more rough and tumble action in their drama, Peaky Blinders is the perfect show.

Set during the same time, but in Birmingham, Peaky Blinders follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family. This series is as ground level and gritty as these shows get, reveling in the street violence and working-class woes of the British public. It is about as far from the halls of Downton as one could get while still remaining in the period.

The Crown (2016- )

Netflix The Crown Claire Foy
  • Available to stream on Netflix

The first Downton Abbey movie deals with the Crawley family preparing for a royal visit from the King and Queen. While the Crawleys might be the cream of the crop of the aristocracy, they are still below the royal family. Fans might have wondered how that other half lives.

RELATED: 10 Things That Make No Historical Sense About The Crown

The Crown explores just that. Focusing on the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, The Crown is a series that focuses on the complicated and stressful roles for those who are in the monarchy. The Crowleys might run into a lot of trouble now and then, but they were nowhere near under the same microscopic lens as the royals.

Victoria (2016-2019)

  • Available to stream through Prime Video

Victoria is almost a middle ground between Downton Abbey and The Crown. It deals with many of the same pressures of royalty that The Crown focuses on, but with far less of the public eye appearing as a foil for these characters. This series focuses on the life of Queen Victoria.

Portrayed by Doctor Who alum Jenna Coleman, this Queen is far more naive and out of her element than many of the royals that audiences have seen. But that is why it is so fascinating to watch her. While she remains a fish out of the water, it is her unique point of view that presents a difficult challenge to her enemies.

Upstairs Downstairs (1971-1975, 2010-2012)

Upstairs Downstairs cast
  • The original is available to stream on BritBox, the revival through Prime Video

Perhaps fans want even more of the same when it comes to their next series. Well, look no further than both versions of Upstairs Downstairs. The earlier series tells an incredibly similar story of the English Aristocracy set during the early half of the 20th century. Not only that, but it has many of the same dynamics as Downton when handling their servant and aristocratic characters.

The revival goes beyond the first series as well as Downton, beginning in 1936. If fans have ever wanted to see what the characters at Downton would have faced next, the revival is for them. Both are also set in London, far beyond the northern halls of the Abbey.

The Turn Of The Screw (2009)

  • Available to stream through Prime Video

Dan Stevens and Michelle Dockery had some of the best chemistry in all of Downton Abbey. The two were electric as the ill-fated Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley and were definitely fan favorites. If fans loved them in Downton, but thought they could have used a bit more spookiness, then they will need to watch the BBC adaption of The Turn of the Screw.

Based on the Henry James novella, the TV movie tells the story of a governess, Dockery, who is tormented by spirits. In the film, Stevens plays an investigator who is unraveling her haunting story which resulted in the deaths of the children under her care. It is quite the genre change for Downton, but still with the period charm and some of the favorite players from the series.

Poldark (2015-2019)

Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson in Poldark
  • Available to stream through Prime Video

Romance, drama, and intrigue are all descriptors that fit Downton Abbey as a series. They also fit perfectly for another British period drama, Poldark. This show takes viewers even farther back to the late 1700s, telling the story of the titular character as portrayed by Aidan Turner.

The series concerns itself with Poldark who is returning to his native home of Cornwall after the American War for Independence. What he comes home to is a world turned upside down. His father is dead, his estate is in ruins, and his love life is less than ideal. It has all the hallmarks that fans have come to expect from Downton, but set among a brand new (well, old) period for viewers to invest in.

Outlander (2014- )

  • Available to stream on Netflix

Romance in the Highlands plus time travel? What more could an audience ask for in a show? Outlander is a perfect followup for fans of Downton, especially if they’re looking for a bit of genre-bending goodness. Set in Scotland immediately after the second world war, Outlander tells the story of a woman who falls through time back to the mid-1700s, among the Jacobites of Scotland.

RELATED: The 10 Best Outlander Characters, Ranked

During her honeymoon, Claire Randall is visiting Scotland with her husband when she is transported back in time, where she meets the dashing Jamie Fraser. Through the danger and drama of this era, she is thrust between her former love and this new and dashing rogue.

Father Brown (2013- )

  • Available to stream on BritBox

Father Brown is perfectly charming programming for those wanting to continue the more relaxed, laid back aura of shows like Downton Abbey. Set in the fictional village of Kembleford among the Cotswolds hills, Father Brown is a murder mystery series about a sleuthing Catholic Priest. Each episode offers a brand new murder for him to solve, along with his friends in the village.

The series is loosely based on the series of books by  G. K. Chesterton, expanding the character across multiple seasons. Portrayed by Mark Williams of Harry Potter fame, fans will fall in love with this witty and open-minded priest as he solves crimes with deduction and empathy.

NEXT: The Best Servant Characters Of Downton Abbey, Ranked


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