10 Best Shows on BritBox Right Now

Updated June 26, 2024 • Staff

Whether you're an expat missing home or an anglophile who appreciates the signature dry humor of the Brits, you're likely to have heard of BritBox, the streaming service that carries hundreds of movies and TV shows from the UK, Canada, Australia, and other Commonwealth countries. The service has partnered with the BBC, ITV, and other local stations to deliver everything from fan favorites and classics to the newest and freshest releases. But with that many options, it can be hard to know what to watch, so in this list, we round up the most critically acclaimed TV shows on the platform. After going through our picks, we hope you find a new favorite, too, which you can binge while enjoying a cuppa.

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10.

Stonehouse

As the real-life British politician John Stonehouse who, among other things, served as a spy for Czechoslovakia and faked his own death, Matthew Macfadyen is incredibly funny. He owns the role of the bumbling fool, a master at inducing laughs and sympathy at the same time. And with Stonehouse, he has endless material. The man is narcissistic and power-hungry, but he also has a habit of biting off more than he can chew, so seeing him stumble in his lies is both funny and tragic to watch. If I can use another metaphor—watching Stonehouse is like watching a train power through despite falling off the rails. It's a wreck to be sure, but one you can't quite peel your eyes from.

Another great thing about Stonehouse? It only has three (concise but jam-packed) episodes. So if you're looking for a one-day binge, this might just be it.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Dorothy Atkinson, Keeley Hawes, Kevin McNally, Matthew Macfadyen
Director: Jon S. Baird
Rating: TV-14
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9.

River

This six-chapter British miniseries stars the ever-reliable Stellan Skarsgård as an erratic London police detective. He starts seeing visions or “manifests” of his recently murdered colleague and tries to solve her case even though he was excluded from it. River blends reality and illusion in a thoughtful and original police thriller.

Our staff rating: 8/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Adeel Akhtar, Eddie Marsan, Georgina Rich, Lesley Manville, Nicola Walker, Owen Teale, Sorcha Cusack, Stellan Skarsgård, Steve Nicolson, Turlough Convery
Rating: TV-MA
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8.

Utopia

In a very fun thriller format, this show is about three eccentric comic book fans who come across a graphic novel that has information on future world events, like epidemics.

Also looking for this novel are a couple of violent hitmen from an organization called “The Network”. The three youngsters find themselves up against a dark web of conspiracies and violence.

It’s plot-heavy, imaginative, and very enjoyable - everything you’d expect from a good thriller series.

Our staff rating: 8.1/10
Genre: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Science Fiction
Actor: Adeel Akhtar, Alexandra Roach, Alistair Petrie, Emilia Jones, Fiona O'Shaughnessy, Geraldine James, Neil Maskell, Oliver Woollford
Director: Marc Munden
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7.

Extras

Writer, actor, and, above all, stand-up comedian extraordinaire, Ricky Gervais, created, wrote, and directed Extras together with Stephan Merchant, who both play the male leads. Deviating from the hallmark The Office mockumentary style towards a more classic format, but staying with the overall awkwardness, Extras follows two aspiring actors desperately trying to make it in showbiz but never quite surpassing the role of, well, extras. Co-produced by the BBC and HBO, each episode is named after the actual film stars the low-rung actors are working with, including Samuel L. Jackson, Stephen Fry, Kate Winslet, and Patrick Stewart. The first episode finds Ben Stiller directing a genocide movie while endlessly bragging about the success of Dodgeball. Ricky Gervais doesn't mind breaking taboos, as you well know, but he also has a penchant for pathos and a humanist message. If you like that to go with your awkward comedy, you should definitely give Extras a go.

Our staff rating: 8.2/10
Genre: Comedy
Actor: Ashley Jensen, Ricky Gervais, Shaun Pye, Shaun Williamson, Stephen Merchant
Rating: TV-MA
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6.

Flowers

It starts off with a man failing at hanging himself from a fruit tree in a bleak-looking garden. Something this grotesque isn't usually the stuff of sitcoms. This is unsurprising because Will Sharpe's Flowers, produced for the British Channel 4, is not your usual sitcom. With a unique visual style, an extraordinary cast, and a dark, satirical script, it carves out a genre of its own. The always amazing Olivia Colman plays Deborah Flowers, the eccentric family's matriarch, and a music teacher. The man trying to hang himself is her depressed and unfaithful husband Maurice (Julian Barratt), who is a children's book author. They live in a ramshackle house with a Japanese butler, who barely speaks English, and their dysfunctional adult twins. Amidst all this glorious mess, Flowers is ultimately about mental illness and depression and is apt in pairing this disturbing reality with hilarity. Obviously, it is very dark. A bit too dark for comedy, and too mad for drama: truly original stuff.

Our staff rating: 8.3/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Adam Hedditch, Angus Wright, Anna Chancellor, Caroline McQuade, Colin Hurley, Daniel Rigby, Georgina Campbell, Harriet Walter, Julian Barratt, Leila Hoffman, Natalie Rose, Olivia Colman, Sassy Soupidis, Sophia Di Martino, Will Sharpe
Director: Mina Maniska, Will Sharpe
Rating: N/A
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5.

The Curse

That The Curse is squirm-inducingly awkward won’t be news to anyone who’s watched a Nathan Fielder show before, but TV’s king of cringe digs his heels in on that approach here. The Curse chronicles the making of another show: HGTV’s inelegantly named “Flipanthropy,” which follows Fielder’s Asher and wife Whitney Siegel (Emma Stone) as they perform (the operative word) good deeds in a struggling New Mexico town. Flipanthropy is also a means through which the well-to-do white couple can shill the eco-friendly homes they’re gentrifying the town with — a galling conflict of interest that plays as a running satire of TV. 

The uneasy tension between what the Siegels say they want to do versus what they actually do is the heart of the show. In true Fielder fashion, their hypocrisy is revealed through excruciatingly awkward, tortuously long scenes takes, such as the one that gives the show its title (the socially inept Asher angers a little girl, who puts a curse on him). This scene is also an example of the insane left takes The Curse constantly takes, which speak to Fielder’s ability to make his shows feel like they’re falling apart all while building to towering complexity. Suffice it to say, there’s nothing else like this on TV.

Our staff rating: 8.3/10
Genre: Comedy
Actor: Benny Safdie, Emma Stone, Nathan Fielder
Rating: TV-MA
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4.

The Thick of It

This BBC comedy by the creator of Veep is about the inner workings of the British government. Malcolm Tucker is the ruling party’s fixer — an angry, uncompromising bureaucrat who spends his days dealing with the failures of ministers.

The first season, which spans a quick three episodes, tells the story of a series of mishaps that strike the Ministry of Social Affairs. The minister announces a program that he wasn’t supposed to, and one thing leads to another and he has to name the program on live radio. “Sponge Avengers” is what comes out.

This is a genuinely funny TV show that since its release in 2005 has become a staple of workplace comedies.

Our staff rating: 8.7/10
Genre: Comedy
Actor: Joanna Scanlan, Peter Capaldi, Roger Allam
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3.

Sherwood

Beginning as a small-town murder mystery but eventually taking the shape of a police procedural, a spy drama, and a sociopolitical thriller, Sherwood fully reinvigorates the crime genre for British TV. With every twist comes a reminder of how deeply alienated the people of this former mining village have become from themselves, each other, and the outside world. Because underneath all the investigation lies a boiling tension: the scars of a past conflict among trade unionists on strike, the "scabs" who crossed the picket line to continue working, and police forces further provoking all this friction. These internal divisions haunt everything in Sherwood, brought to life by a superb ensemble—David Morrissey, Robert Glenister, Lesley Manville, Adeel Akhtar, and more—who all carry the weight and shame of being left behind by the world around them.

Our staff rating: 8.8/10
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Actor: Adam Hugill, Adeel Akhtar, Claire Rushbrook, David Morrissey, Kevin Doyle, Lesley Manville, Lorraine Ashbourne, Nadine Marshall, Perry Fitzpatrick, Philip Jackson, Robert Glenister
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2.

Luther

Ok, two words: Idris Elba. This 11-time Emmy-nominated detective series is his show. He leads the action as DCI John Luther, a Serious Crime Unit detective, who is as smart as he is self-destructive. A committed policeman but frequently in over his head and prone to be consumed by the darkness of the criminals he pursues. And, finally, a main role where Elba can legitimately use his thick East London accent, innit. Creator and writer Neil Cross (Doctor Who) has said to be inspired by Sherlock Holmes and Columbo. While this is a pretty apt description of Luther's ambivalence, this detective delves into even darker territory than his cultural predecessors. In addition to Elba, Ruth Wilson is one of many amazing actors that grace the show, playing the seductive and completely psycho character Alice. Luther will routinely have you on the edge of your seat screaming “No, why did you do that?”, rooting for the DCI even when he's taking all the wrong turns. This gritty BBC drama is British television at its nail-biting best.

Our staff rating: 9/10
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Actor: David OHara, Dermot Crowley, Enzo Cilenti, Idris Elba, Indira Varma, John Heffernan, Michael Smiley, Neil Cross, Patrick Malahide, Paul McGann, Ruth Wilson, Saskia Reeves, Sienna Guillory, Warren Brown, Wunmi Mosaku
Director: Jamie Payne
Rating: TV-MA
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1.

Stath Lets Flats

Stath Lets Flats is so incredibly quotable that watching just its first crop of episodes will likely give you a whole new vocabulary. Even after spending three full seasons with the titular Greek Cypriot real estate agent (played, as no one else could, by series creator Jamie Demetriou) and his sister Sophie (Natasia Demetriou), it still feels like the show is inventing new ways to nonsensically butcher the English language. Maintaining total unpredictability and never letting the gags get stale is no easy feat, but Stath Lets Flats never even gets close to that, remaining utterly original — and, more importantly, hilarious — from its slapstick-heavy opener all the way through the emotional rollercoaster that is the show’s three-season-strong run. Though its existence feels criminally short, the blessing of this being unlike any other sitcom (old and new) means it has infinite rewatch potential — putting it up there with the very best of TV comedy, period. Sold!

Our staff rating: 9.5/10
Genre: Comedy
Actor: Al Roberts, Christos Stergioglou, Jamie Demetriou, Katy Wix, Natasia Demetriou
Director: Andrew Gaynord
Rating: TV-MA
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