Downton Abbey is a historical drama series set in England from 1912 until 1925. It went for six seasons until its ending in 2015. It features love, loss, war and a whole lot of drama. The best part of Downton Abbey is that the series focuses on both the aristocratic Crawley family, as well as the household’s servants. It bridges the divide between the two classes, which is fascinating to watch.
For a series featuring another powerful and strong female lead character, check out Madam Secretary. Currently in its third season, it’s stars Téa Leoni as the United States’ Secretary of State. It features politics, new foreign crises every episode and also has a strong family element. Morgan Freeman is in the director’s chair too, so you know it’s going to be good with him in charge.
For another royal TV series, check out The Tudors. It ran from 2007 to 2010 and stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as King Henry VIII. It follows the king’s reign in 16th century England, although was primarily filmed in Ireland. Its costume design team won several Golden Globes and Meyers was repeatedly applauded for his mesmerising portrayal of the infamous king.
Outlander has two things in common with The Crown: history and Scotland. It follows 20th century Brit Claire, who somehow travels back in time to 18th century Scotland. It features the same incredible Scottish landscapes as The Crown. Outlander is currently filming its third season, but it’s guaranteed to include more battles, romance and excellent cinematography.
Check out these Beautiful Scottish Locations Used In Outlander
Another TV series featuring royals, Reign, follows Mary Queen of Scots from when she marries Prince Francis of France in 1557. As some critics describe the show, Reign is more ‘The CW than BBC’, with exotic costumes, different storylines and heightened drama. But it’s an excellent show to binge-watch following The Crown. The fourth and final season airs in 2017.
War and Peace
Stepping away from England, War and Peace is a six-part adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel of the same name. It aired in 2016 and centres on several aristocratic families in Imperial Russia. It begins in 1805 with the start of Napoleon’s conflict, and ends in 1812 when Napoleon is finally driven from Russia. War and Peace has a similar theme to The Crown: national turmoil.
If you want to see more of Claire Foy, the award-winning actress who portrayed Queen Elizabeth II, watch Wolf Hall. The six-part series is an adaptation of two Hilary Mantel novels: Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. The books are a fictionalised biography of Thomas Cromwell’s rise in King Henry VIII’s court, including freeing the king from his marriage to Anne Boleyn (played by Foy). It aired in 2015 and in 2016 won the Golden Globe for Best Miniseries or Television Film.
Call the Midwife
Although not a royal drama, Call the Midwife is a British period drama set in London’s East End neighbourhood in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It follows nurse midwives and is based on Jennifer Worth’s best-selling memoirs. The series began in 2012 and in 2017 picked up the Best Period Drama Award at the UK’s National Television Awards. Its fifth season is currently airing.
The Royals was E!’s first scripted TV series. It stars Elizabeth Hurley as Queen and is currently in its third season. It follows a fictional British Royal family and is set in modern day London. E! describes the show: ‘the family inhabit a world of opulence and regal tradition that caters to any and every desire, but one that also comes with a price tag of duty, destiny and intense public scrutiny’.
Another modern series, Scandal still has the political element of The Crown, as well as a headstrong female protagonist in Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington). The series focuses on Pope, who was a former media consultant for the President before opening her own firm to fix other people’s problems. It’s a captivating series, written by mastermind Shonda Rhimes.
Victoria premiered in late August 2016, just before The Crown. It stars Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria, from her ascension to the throne at age 18, marriage to Prince Albert and subsequent birth of daughter Victoria. The first season consisted of eight episodes, with a second season already in the works. The second series will focus on her role as Queen while juggling family life.