Hello gentle reader,
In 2013 I wrote a blogpost about TV shows set in Victorian England. Three years later, it seems that networks are still interested in producing such series, even if they don’t necessarily find their audience. Here are the three latest shows that caught my attention:
Historical drama set in the Yorkshire Dales. Inspired by the builders of the Ribblehead Viaduct in the 1870s, it follows a widow, Annie, who is left penniless after her husband’s death and decides to move to the shanty town of Jericho in search of work.
Dubbed “Britain’s first Western”, it boasts interesting characters (with a strong female lead and a diverse cast), as well as an impressive set. However I found the plot slightly predictable. ITV cancelled the show after its first series, but these 8 episodes are worth watching.
In the words of the BBC, it’s a “drama set within the fictional realms of Charles Dickens’ critically acclaimed novels, bringing together some of his most iconic characters as their lives intertwine in 19th-century London.” Bringing together characters from Bleak House, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and A Christmas Carol, among others, the 20-part mini series shows Inspector Bucket as he investigates the murder of Ebenezer Scrooge’s partner Jacob Marley.
I thoroughly enjoyed this series, which cleverly brought together various famous novels by Dickens. It was very well written and it gave a prominent role to female characters (the young Miss Havisham being a fantastic lead). Each episode mixed mystery, comedy and tragedy, and if you like Dickens’ books, I really recommend you watch this series.
The Living and the Dead
Presented by the BBC as “a Victorian era supernatural drama series about a farm owner who yearns to prove the existence of the afterlife”, this series is the most recent of the three mentioned in this post. Starring Colin Morgan, the 6-part drama is about a pioneering psychologist who moves to his family estate after his wedding to a gifted photographer. As they try to keep the farm afloat, the young couple have to deal with strange and creepy events.
Each episode touches upon Victorian topics (child labour, occultism, etc.) and mixes supernatural and historical events very well. The main character’s slow descent into madness is incredibly well acted by Colin Morgan. And I loved the twist about the mysterious woman in red. I loved this series and I do hope a second one will soon follow.
Have you watched these Victorian TV shows? What did you think? Any other TV series set in Victorian England I should be aware of? Feel free to leave me a comment below!
I’ll admit I’m a little surprised that ‘Jericho’ is set in the Yorkshire Dales. All of the promos I’ve seen look so American mid-west! Colin Morgon’s new show does look quite interesting and I’ve loved watching his work since seeing Merlin but I’m not really one for creepy shows.