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The best British shows on Hulu

Does it seem like a lot of the best television shows come from the United Kingdom? It shouldn’t be too surprising. Long before the streaming age of Peak TV, British shows were propping up PBS stations all over the United States. Even broadcast networks couldn’t resist adapting British sitcoms and dramas into more Americanized incarnations. But the beautiful thing about having a streaming service like Hulu is that you can cut out the middleman. Why settle for a watered-down version of The Office when you can watch the British original? And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. To get you started on your U.K. television journey, check out our list of the best British shows on Hulu.

Didn’t find what you were looking for on Hulu? Still hoping to find entertainment from across the pond? Try the best British shows streaming on Netflix.

Recently added to Hulu

Uncle (2014) new

Uncle
Genre Comedy
Created by Oliver Refson
Cast Nick Helm, Elliot Speller-Gillott, Daisy Haggard
Seasons: 3
Comedian Nick Helm stars in Uncle as Andy King, a struggling musician who is an absolute failure at life. The only thing that stops Andy from ending his own existence is Errol Meyer (Elliot Speller-Gillott), his young nephew. Despite himself, Andy forms a strong bond with Errol, even though he is a terrible role model for the kid. Andy keeps getting roped into watching over Errol, and trouble soon follows both uncle and nephew. Regardless, Errol is instrumental in helping Andy grow up, especially after some epic disasters.

Banished (2015) new

Banished
Genre Drama
Created by Jimmy McGovern
Directed by Daniel Percival
Cast Russell Tovey, MyAnna Buring, Nicholas Moss
Seasons: 1
While Australia is a world-class country in the present, it wasn’t always that way. Britain originally used the distant continent as a penal colony to get rid of its undesirables. Banished takes place in the late 18th century at the very first British penal colony in that country. In an increasingly tense situation, Tommy Barrett (Julian Rhind-Tutt) and Elizabeth Quinn (MyAnna Buring) put their lives on the line for love, much to the ire of Governor Arthur Phillip (David Wenham). Meanwhile, James Freeman (Russell Tovey) makes a devil’s bargain to save his own life. But James’ respite from the hangman’s noose has a high price.

Bedlam (2011) new

Bedlam
Genre Drama, Mystery
Created by Neil Jones, David Allison, Chris Parker
Cast Hugo Speer, Lacey Turner, Gemma Chan
Seasons: 2
tv-14
Property is always at a premium, and so is a good place to live. Within Bedlam, someone had the inspiration to transform a former mental asylum into a new housing complex called Bedlam Heights. This turns out to be a very bad idea, since many of the asylum’s ghosts have not moved on to the afterlife. Instead, their spirits linger, and they aren’t too fond of the living. Jed Harper (Theo James) comes to realize that he can see the ghosts, which places him in a position to stop their malevolent actions. In the second season, Ellie (Lacey Turner) takes over the leading role, and she shares an unexpected link to both Jed and Bedlam Heights.

GameFace (2017) new

GameFace
Genre Comedy, Drama
Cast Roisin Conaty, Damien Molony, Karl Theobald
Seasons: 3
When faced with adversity, it’s usually a good idea to maintain an optimistic outlook on life rather than giving into despair. But in GameFace, that strategy doesn’t usually work for Marcella (Roisin Conaty), an aspiring actress in her thirties who just can’t catch a break. Bad breakups, social mishaps, and other misfortunes tend to strike Marcella’s life, although she can certainly be called her own worst enemy as well. But Marcella has a dream of creating a better life for herself, and she just won’t let go of it no matter what setbacks get in her way.

Dead Boss (2012)

Dead Boss
Genre Comedy
Created by Sharon Horgan
Seasons: 1
It’s not uncommon for people to dislike their bosses, but someone took that to the extreme in Dead Boss. Poor Helen Stephens (Sharon Horgan) has taken the fall for murdering Eric Bridges, which includes a sentence of 12 years in prison. Helen is so secure in her innocence that she’s certain this misunderstanding will be fixed soon. But why are so many people in Helen’s life working to keep her behind bars? And why has her fiancé, Justin (Barnaby Kay), disappeared when he was the only one who could confirm Helen’s alibi?

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981)

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Genre Comedy, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Created by Douglas Adams
Cast Simon Jones, David Dixon, Sandra Dickinson
Seasons: 1
tv-pg
Did you know that the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is 42? Everyone is still working out the question in the first live-action adaptation of Douglas Adams’ absurdly funny sci-fi comedy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Arthur Dent (Simon Jones) is lucky (or unlucky) to be the last human alive, after Earth is destroyed by aliens. Arthur’s friend, Ford Prefect (David Dixon), is secretly an alien himself, and they escape Earth together only to find themselves tangled up in an increasingly silly series of misadventures in outer space,

Horrible Histories (2009)

Horrible Histories
Genre Comedy
Created by Terry Deary
Cast John Eccleston
Seasons: 9
Even in its darkest moments, history can be quite funny. That’s the genesis for Horrible Histories, a series based upon the children’s books that take a comedic (and yet historically accurate) approach to some of the shared moments of humanity’s past. Comedians Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard, Sarah Hadland, and Ben Willbond were largely faithful to the tone set by the books while starring in sketches that can be enjoyed by all ages.

In the Flesh (2013)

In the Flesh
Genre Drama
Created by Dominic Mitchell
Cast Luke Newberry, Marie Critchley, Steve Cooper
Seasons: 2
tv-14
In the Flesh offers a new take on zombies by depicting a post-zombie world in which the undead have been partially restored to living status and reintegrated into society. Kieren Walker (Luke Newberry) is one of the sufferers of Partially Deceased Syndrome who encounters rampant bigotry from the living. Even Kieren’s sister, Jemima “Jem” Walke (Harriet Cains), is devoted to hunting down the PDS. Simon Monroe (Emmett J Scanlan) and the Undead Liberation Army have a militant approach to anti-PDS activities. Kieren and Simon even develop a relationship with each other as their respective lives threaten to descend into greater violence and heartbreak.

Wasted (2016)

Wasted
Genre Comedy
Created by James Lamont, Jon Foster
Directed by Tom Marshall
Cast Danny Kirrane, Dylan Edwards, Gwyneth Keyworth
Seasons: 1
Often compared favorably to Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson’s sitcom Spaced, the later series Wasted stars Danny Kirrane as Morpheus — no, not Neo’s Matrix mentor, but the owner of Neston Berry’s Stoned Henge souvenir shop/tattoo parlor. The series opens when Kent (Dylan Edwards) returns to the small town after crashing and burning as a DJ in Bristol. Together, Kent, Morpheus, Kent’s ex-girlfriend Sarah (Rose Reynolds), and tattoo artist Allison (Gwyneth Keyworth), do their best the mitigate the boredom of the small town. For the most part, dealing with the banality involves ingesting mind-altering substances: legal and otherwise. Sean Bean, dressed as Ned Stark from Game of Thrones, is delightful as he appears as himself or, more accurately, as the Sean Bean spirit guide who occasionally manifests to speak to Morpheus. It’s weird and wonderful.

Getting On (2009)

Getting On
Genre Drama, Comedy
Created by Jo Brand, Vicki Pepperdine, Joanna Scanlan
Cast Jo Brand, Vicki Pepperdine, Joanna Scanlan
Seasons: 3
Of all the different kinds of settings for workplace comedies, you probably wouldn’t think a sitcom set in a hospital’s geriatric ward would be a breeding ground for humor, but you’d be wrong. The British satire Getting On gets you chuckling over the lives of the high strung Dr. Pippa Moore (Vicki Pepperdine) who doesn’t have the best bedside manner, the opportunistic work avoider Den (Joanna Scanlan), and good-natured Kim (Jo Brand) who keeps locking horns with co-workers and hospital bureaucracy. Peter Capaldi of Doctor Who fame directs the first two seasons, and shows up occasionally as the psychiatrist Dr. Healy who Pippa holds a torch for.

The Aliens (2016)

The Aliens
Genre Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Created by Fintan Ryan
Cast Michael Socha, Michaela Coel, Jim Howick
Seasons: 1
tv-ma
In the 1950s, aliens crash-landed in the Atlantic Ocean not far from Britain. To the keen disappointment of anyone expecting the new arrivals to have green skin, antennae, or any kind of ridged foreheads, the new arrivals looked exactly like the rest of us. To welcome the extraterrestrials, humanity did something predictable — built walls. In the BBC’s The Aliens, Michael Socha plays Lewis, a border control officer managing which aliens can and can’t mingle with Earthlings. In spite of his anti-alien paranoia, Lewis begins to fall for Lilyhot (Michaela Coel), an alien crook. His attraction leads to some unsurprising complications, helping to push forward the plot of this poignant satire that reflects a more real-world suffering from ignorance-bred fear.

Inside No. 9 (2014)

Inside No. 9
Genre Comedy, Mystery
Created by Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton
Cast Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton
Seasons: 6
tv-ma
No episode of Inside No. 9 is quite the same. Each episode stars the series writers/creators Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, has something involving the number nine, and has a small brass hare hidden somewhere in the background. Otherwise, Inside No. 9 is a dark comedy anthology series, and each episode reveals a new setting and a new cast of characters. For example, while the premiere episode Sardines takes place during an engagement party, The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge is set in the 17th century, and in Last Gasp, the characters bicker over the ownership of a dead pop star’s balloon. Incredibly well-written and disturbingly funny, Inside No. 9 always brings you somewhere unexpected.

Line of Duty (2012)

Line of Duty
Genre Crime, Drama, Mystery
Created by Jed Mercurio
Cast Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar
Seasons: 6
tv-ma
When Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) refuses to help cover up an illegal shooting, he’s transferred somewhere he can do the most good — Anti-Corruption Unit 12, investigating misconduct within the police force. Arnott is partnered with Detective Constable Vicky McClue (Kate Fleming), and the pair investigate what at first appear to be different cases with no obvious connections. But soon, Line of Duty transforms from a police procedural to a thriller as the heroes discover that all the corruption they’ve been looking into leads to the same source. Along with a suspenseful, binge-worthy story, Line of Duty boasts a whole host of U.K. screen-acting heavyweights like Lennie James (The Walking Dead), Thandie Newton (Westworld), and Stephen Graham (Boardwalk Empire).

This Way Up (2019)

This Way Up
91%
81%
Genre Comedy
Created by Aisling Bea
Cast Aisling Bea, Sharon Horgan
Seasons: 2
What do you do after a “teeny weeny” nervous breakdown? Well, in the dramedy This Way Up, Áine (Aisling Bea) does everything she can to put her life back together. In the wake of everything collapsing around her, Áine must relearn how to navigate romance, work, and family. Premiering on both BBC 4 and Hulu in 2019, This Way Up tackles the subject of mental health in a refreshingly light and funny way, without neglecting the more heartbreaking aspects of Áine’s struggles.

Absolutely Fabulous (1992)

Absolutely Fabulous
94%
81%
Genre Comedy
Created by Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders
Cast Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha
Seasons: 6
tv-14
Are you convinced that fashion-obsessed drug addicts are underrepresented in popular culture? Then it might be time to check out the classic British sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. Creator Jennifer Saunders stars as the heavy-drinking and fad-chasing Eddy, joined by Joanna Lumley as Patsy — a woman whose self-destructive tendencies put Eddy’s to shame. Together, the pair inevitably and hilariously stumble into one crisis after another, always saved from the fire by Eddy’s cynical daughter, Saffy (Julia Sawalha).

Blackadder (1983)

Blackadder
Genre Comedy
Created by Richard Curtis, Rowan Atkinson, Ben Elton
Cast Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Laurie, Tony Robinson
Seasons: 4
tv-pg
The different series making up the pseudo-historical sitcom Blackadder over the span of five centuries — from the end of the Middle Ages to World War I — have Rowan Atkinson’s Edmund in common. Sometimes a coward, sometimes a schemer, and sometimes a womanizer, Edmund is devilishly funny in every century, helping to make Blackadder one of the most beloved British sitcoms. Along with Atkinson, fans of British comedy greats Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie should make sure to keep their eye out for younger versions of the actors.

Luther

Luther

While in the States, Idris Elba may be best known for being Thor’s sidekick Heimdall, but in the U.K., he’s better known as John Luther, a volatile and unconventional detective who — among other things — can confidently put “goes to murderers for counsel” and “covering up crimes” on his resume. Intensely brilliant but at times cripplingly passionate, Luther is easily one of the most magnetic and fascinating detectives on TV in any nation.

Created by: Neil Cross
Cast: Idris Elba, Ruth Wilson, Dermot Crowley
Number of seasons: 5

Watch on Hulu

Misfits on Hulu

Misfits

What would young offenders do with superpowers? One possible answer can be found in the British sci-fi dramedy Misfits. In the middle of doing community service, five delinquents — including Umbrella Academy‘s Robert Sheehan and Iwan Rheon of Game of Thrones — encounter a bizarre electrical storm. After lightning strikes that should leave them dead, they instead find they’ve been given superhuman abilities that match their personalities or situations. For example, the regretful Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), desperate to make up for past mistakes, can manipulate the flow of time. Meanwhile, Simon (Rheon), who feels unseen, can soon literally become invisible. Misfits offers a perfect blend of drama and comedy while exploring how superpowers could truly change someone’s life.

Created by: Howard Overman
Cast: Karla Crome, Joseph Gilgun, Natasha O’Keeffe
Number of seasons: 5

Watch on Hulu

My Mad Fat Diary

My Mad Fat Diary

Author Rae Earl kept a diary chronicling her mental health issues as well as the harrowing experience of being a teenage girl bigger than many other teenage girls. Those diaries were published in 2007 and later used to create the powerful teenage dramedy My Mad Fat Diary. Sharon Rooney plays the author right after a four-month stint at a psychiatric hospital as she tries to rebuild her life while at the same time desperate to hide what’s been going on. My Mad Fat Diary offers a touching portrayal that feels real while still making you laugh.

Created by: Tom Bidwell, Rae Earl
Cast: Sharon Rooney, Claire Rushbrook, Ian Hart
Number of seasons: 3

Watch on Hulu

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

There’s no shortage of adaptations of Jane Austen’s 19th-century novel Pride and Prejudice, but this mini-series released in the mid-’90s set a standard to which every subsequent treatment strives to meet. Jennifer Ehle stars as Austen’s tenacious protagonist Lizzy while Colin Firth fills the shoes of her love interest, Mr. Darcy, a man who women tend to swoon over until he opens his mouth. If you haven’t seen this Pride and Prejudice, it’s time to correct that (then you can watch the one with the zombies).

Created by: Andrew Davies
Cast: Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Crispin Bonham-Carter
Number of seasons: 1

Watch on Hulu

Prime Suspect

Prime Suspect

Prime Suspect is a must for any fan of the detective genre, as it follows the activities of Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, a gripping and deeply-flawed character. Uncompromising in her detective pursuits and unable to maintain any kind of relationship, Tennison’s talent for solving crimes never shrinks, even as her dependence on alcohol grows every year. Helen Mirren portrayed the uncompromising detective between 1991 and 2006, and the show is almost universally praised by critics. Do yourself a favor and get caught up in the mystery of Prime Suspect.

Created by:  Lynda La Plante
Cast: Helen Mirren, John Benfield, Tom Bell
Number of seasons: 7

Watch on Hulu

Staged

Staged

The COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of creators to get, well … creative. A perfect example of using the unique challenges the pandemic provided is Staged starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen as fictionalized versions of themselves and filmed almost exclusively via videoconferencing. Using the kind of self-effacing celebrity humor that put plenty of pounds in Ricky Gervais’ bank, Tennant and Sheen play somewhat pettier versions of themselves as they try to navigate lockdown while rehearsing an upcoming stage performance. Along with hilarious bickerings regarding who is and isn’t Doctor Who, we get to see Dame Judi Dench pay a visit to humble their inflated egos.

Created by: Simon Evans, Phin Glynn
Cast: Michael Sheen, David Tennant, Georgia Tennant
Number of seasons: 2

Watch on Hulu

The Office

The Office

It’s impossible to escape comparisons between the U.S. version of The Office and the British sitcom that was its inspiration, and any fan of the former owes it to themselves to give the latter a watch. Instead of Steve Carrell’s Michael Scott, Ricky Gervais invented the role of David Brent, a manager even more inappropriate and inept than his stateside echo, while Mackenzie Crook plays his righthand man Gareth who is obsessed with the authority he doesn’t really have. While the American answer to The Office quickly changed course from the original in order to make characters like Michael Scott and Dwight more likable, the original keeps the laughter while not shying away from the utter jerks Brent and Gareth prove to be.

Created by: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook
Number of seasons: 3

Watch on Hulu

Zomboat

Zomboat!

How do you survive a zombie apocalypse? By following Gilligan’s example (at least before the crash). That’s the idea our heroes get in Zomboat!, a hilarious series in which two women and two men decide the only way to escape the end of the world is to take a canal boat that barely moves faster than the hungry zombies on land. Surprisingly upbeat, scary, and as funny as the apocalypse could possibly be, Zomboat! is mandatory viewing for any zombie fan or any comedy fan who doesn’t mind their humor when it gets a little bloody.

Created by: William Hartley, Adam Miller
Cast: Leah Brotherhead, Hamza Jeetooa, Ryan McKen
Number of seasons: 1

Watch on Hulu

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