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Some of the Best British Miniseries, Ranked



The Night Manager starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie

The line that separates some countries’ TV shows from others grows thinner with each passing month thanks to streaming services. Something like Stranger Things is popular enough to be watched around the world, even though it’s an American show; inversely, Netflix has recently reported that 97% of American subscribers have watched a non-English title. The BBC has partnered with Amazon Prime many times, meaning British shows like Good Omens premiered around the world on the streaming service, and there’s even BBC America, which blurs the line further.

Even so, there are still plenty of good shows that fly under the radar, especially if you aren’t from their country of origin. Numerous British miniseries especially seem to be hard to find, as they air on British TV channels and don’t have much advertising outside the country. Though what counts as a miniseries can vary, it’s typically a single season with only a handful of episodes that tells a complete story. They’re easy to binge, there’s no worry about whether a second season will come to resolve any cliffhangers, and there are a lot of great ones out there. Most are available to rent, and some can be streamed on various platforms (mostly Amazon Prime Video). Check out some of the best ones now to see if they pique your interest.

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Born to Kill is a British drama with four episodes. The main character, Sam Woodford, hides his psychopathic tendencies under the guise of being a ‘normal’ teenager. The show explores his mind as he is on the verge of possibly leaning into the whims of these tendencies, all because of a new girl moving into his school. He’s fascinated with death, and might even end up taking things a little too far at one point. As the series progresses, the tension grows and Sam must be more and more cautious if he wants to get away with everything he’s been doing and remove any suspicion that may be on him.

The horror miniseries The Living and the Dead has six episodes set in the 1890s that revolve around the lives of Nathan and Charlotte Appleby, who live on a haunted farm. The Appleby’s move to the farm in the first episode, and from there start having supernatural experiences along with the rest of the nearby town. Each new episode features a different occurrence, but they all work together towards the plot and towards Nathan Appleby slowly losing his sanity. He’s desperate to stop the ghosts from appearing and let himself and the town live in peace.

Related: The Best British Television of the 2010s

Based on the Agatha Christie novel of the same name, And Then There Were None tells the mystery thriller story in three tense episodes. Ten strangers are invited to a small island, but upon their arrival, find the manor is only occupied by two servants, and their hosts are absent. After sitting down for dinner, a record put on accuses everyone of being a murderer, and one of the guests dies from poisoning shortly thereafter. Now, those who remain must hurry to find who is actually the murderer and stop them as they slowly pick the group off, one by one, killing in accordance to a poem displayed around the house. Though the original 1945 film is a classic, this modern miniseries version is a dark, brooding masterpiece.

The drama Thirteen focuses on Ivy Moxam, a woman who was kidnapped at 13 and imprisoned for 13 years since but managed to escape. These five episodes cover the aftermath of what happened, starting off with Ivy arriving at the police station, giving a statement on what happened, and reconnecting with her family. However, what the police find at the house and what Ivy said don’t seem to add up, so pressure grows on her to reveal the truth of what actually happened, especially once her kidnapper manages to take another girl hostage after her escape.