10 Best British Netflix Originals to Watch

Updated June 15, 2024 • Staff

No one does it quite like the British, even and especially when it comes to storytelling. Programming in the UK may not be as robust as it is in America, but the quality—the thought, care, and craft that go into it—are unmistakable. So we thought it would be nice to round up the best Netflix Originals from the UK. 

For the purposes of this list, a series counts as a Netflix Original if the streamer either produces, co-produces, or has exclusive distribution rights on the show. We're also counting series made in all parts of the UK, meaning they're produced in either England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. So without further ado, here are the very best of the UK originals as ranked below. 

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10.

Lockwood & Co.

Though it may seem like it at first, Lockwood & Co. is more than just Ghostbusters by way of YA fiction. For one, it is properly terrifying. The growls and screeches, the misshapen ghosts and the heartstopping jumpscares are all proof that the showrunners know what it takes to create an authentic horror series. The worldbuilding is also impressive; the show rightly doesn't dump all its secrets in one go and instead reveals them slowly and naturally, which adds to its credibility. 

In lesser hands, Lockwood & Co. might have ended up as cheesy child's fare, but with a skilled cast and crew behind it, it proves to be stirring for audiences of any age. The impressive CGI and costume design give it a prestigious sheen (it’s not tacky, in other words), while the tender moments make it as relatable as any well-told teen drama.

Our staff rating: 7.5/10
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Actor: Ali Hadji-Heshmati, Cameron Chapman, Ruby Stokes
Rating: TV-14
9.

Crashing

Phoebe Waller-Bridge became famous for her hit show Fleabag, but few people know about Crashing which she has also created and stars in, and which deserves just as much attention. She plays a girl who moves to London to be with her childhood friend, who’s already in a relationship and living with his partner and four others in an abandoned hospital. Waller-Bridge settles into the hospital as well, and the six twenty-somethings become property guardians of the hospital building.

Funny characters and excellent performances make this show dangerously bingeable.

Our staff rating: 7.7/10
Genre: Comedy
Actor: Adrian Scarborough, Amit Shah, Damien Molony, Jonathan Bailey, Julie Dray, Louise Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Rating: TV-MA
8.

Giri / Haji

This is an thrilling BBC/Netflix show and a Yakuza drama that takes place between Tokyo and London. About half of the dialogue is in Japanese and the other half is in English.

Yakuza families are no longer at peace when a boss’s nephew is assassinated in London. Trying to bring the culprit in without interference from the British police, a Tokyo detective is sent to the UK to try to find him. 

There is an undeniable appeal to seeing the world of yakuza unfold, but the show’s title, which translates to Duty/Shame is a reference to the detective’s own personal conflict: the suspected murderer he’s looking for is his brother. Ouu.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Actor: Anna Sawai, Aoi Okuyama, Charlie Creed-Miles, Jamie Draven, Katsuya, Kelly Macdonald, Masahiro Motoki, Mitsuko Oka, Sophia Brown, Takehiro Hira, Togo Igawa, Tony Pitts, Will Sharpe, Yoshiki Minato, Yosuke Kubozuka, Yuko Nakamura
Rating: N/A
7.

Heartstopper

Life should be difficult for Charlie Spring, an openly gay student in an all-boys high school. And it is, to be sure—he's mocked, ridiculed, and at times literally shoved to the sidelines. But Hearstopper doesn't just dwell on misery; rather, it shows us the many colors, the multifaceted wonders, of Charlie's life. His friends, family, and newfound crush, Nick, help keep him afloat in the murky waters of teenhood.

Like the show itself, Charlie and Nick are insistently sweet and charming, which can feel bold in a world that is driven by so much cynicism and hate. It's this glowing sensitivity, coupled with the show's inclusive characters and levelheaded insight, that make Hearstopper a heartwarmingly good watch. 

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Kit Connor, William Gao, Yasmin Finney
Rating: TV-14
6.

Top Boy

The first season of this abrasive crime drama has four episodes, expect to watch them all in one take. The second season became even bigger than the first after being endorsed by none other than Drake, who pushed for it to go on after it was cancelled. Set amidst the drug-dealing, cut-throat gangs of Hackney, East London, and Jamaica, Top Boy revolves around the two drug lords Sully and Dushane, played by Kane Robinson aka grime rapper Kano and Ashley Walters. This is not a cliched, poorly acted gangster flick though, but a vividly shot, intricately written, and authentic drama with amazing characters. Striving for a certain realism and authenticity, it is also unsettingly violent. But in its realism, it trusts mature viewers to see things like they are and to live through the tough decisions people in underserved communities have to make every day. Think The Wire with a gritty UK vibe. If that appeals to you, Top Boy is for you!

Our staff rating: 8/10
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Actor: Ashley Walters, Geoff Bell, Giacomo Mancini, Kane Robinson, Kierston Wareing, Malcolm Kamulete, Nicholas Pinnock, Sharon Duncan Brewster, Shone Romulus, Xavien Russell
Rating: Not Rated
5.

The End of the F***ing World

An amazing binge-worthy show that is a mix between a coming-of-age story, a romance, and a crime thriller. It tells the story of James, a 17-year-old who believes he is a psychopath (for some very convincing reasons). James decides he wants the victim of his first murder to be a new schoolmate, Alyssa.  He befriends her and keeps waiting for the perfect moment to kill Alyssa until he finds himself on a journey with her to escape her home. Somewhere near the middle of the show, and without you fully realizing it, it transforms from an original coming-of-age story or odd-boy-meets-odd-girl story to an intriguing view on adolescent insecurities and the role of parents into shaping them. It transforms from a mysterious, almost charming story to an interesting character study.  This is when the show will blow your mind.  It's a fresh, smart, funny yet disturbing emotional thrill ride.

 

Our staff rating: 8.3/10
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama, Mystery, Romance
Actor: Alex Lawther, Christine Bottomley, Eileen Davies, Gemma Whelan, Jayda Mitchell, Jessica Barden, Jonathan Aris, Josh Dylan, Naomi Ackie, Navin Chowdhry, Steve Oram, Wunmi Mosaku
Rating: TV-MA
4.

The Last Kingdom

This historical fantasy show is based on the best-selling novel The Saxon Stories, a story set during the Viking / Dane invasion of Britain.

Uhtred was a small boy when he was kidnapped and then raised by the Danes. When he unexpectedly gets caught up in the conflict, his half-Saxon half-Dane mix makes at the same time valuable and untrustworthy for both sides.

There has never been a better alternative to Game of Thrones. The great writing and great performances from a cast of newcomers inevitably induce the same sense of addiction.

Our staff rating: 8.6/10
Genre: Action, Action & Adventure, Drama, History, War & Politics
Actor: Adrian Bower, Adrian Schiller, Alexander Dreymon, Alexandre Willaume, Amy Wren, Arnas Fedaravicius, Brian Vernel, Cavan Clerkin, David Dawson, David Schofield, Eliza Butterworth, Emily Cox, Eva Birthistle, Ewan Mitchell, Gerard Kearns, Harry Gilby, Harry McEntire, Henning Valin Jakobsen, Ian Hart, James Northcote, Jamie Blackley, Joseph Millson, Julia Bache-Wiig, Mark Rowley, Matthew Macfadyen, Millie Brady, Ola Rapace, Peri Baumeister, Peter Gantzler, Phia Saban, Ruby Hartley, Rune Temte, Rutger Hauer, Simon Kunz, Stefanie Martini, Thea Sofie Loch Næss, Thea Sofie Loch Næss, Thomas Gabrielsson, Thomas W. Gabrielsson, Thure Lindhardt, Timothy Innes, Tobias Santelmann, Toby Regbo
Rating: TV-MA
3.

Sex Education

Pressured by the feeling that everyone is having sex except him, Otis (Asa Butterfield), like most teenagers, is very uncomfortable with sex, masturbation, and intimacy in general. In addition to the standard-issue teenage awkwardness, to make things worse, he grows up in a sex-positive household under the watchful eyes of his mother Jean, played by Gillian Anderson, who is a sex therapist. Obviously, the subject is omnipresent as are erotic art, oversized dildos, and coitus-craving couples all over the house. The twist comes when he transforms his tribulations into a business model by teaming up with bad girl Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey) to counsel his teenage peers on sexual issues of all kinds. As you can imagine, uninitiated teenagers have a lot to offer in that department. Apart from its raunchy premise and explicit images, this is a hilarious, diverse, and warm teen comedy thanks, in particular, to the writing of playwright Laurie Nunn. Lauded by critics for its honesty, this future comedy classic will surely teach you a thing or two about sexuality yourself.

Our staff rating: 8.9/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Aimee Lou Wood, Alistair Petrie, Anne-Marie Duff, Asa Butterfield, Chaneil Kular, Connor Swindells, Emma Mackey, Gillian Anderson, Jemima Kirke, Kedar Williams-Stirling, Mikael Persbrandt, Mimi Keene, Ncuti Gatwa, Patricia Allison, Rakhee Thakrar, Simone Ashley, Tanya Reynolds
Rating: TV-MA
2.

Derry Girls

If you’re looking for a funny yet original sitcom, look no further than Derry Girls. 

It takes place in 1990s Northern Ireland where civil unrest reigns. News of bombings is regular. This is a cause for concern for a lot of people, but for one group of teenage girls life continues as usual. Making fun of the first boy at their all girls school and being embarrassed by crushes are unshakable priorities. 

Derry Girls might have been a good show with just the 90s nostalgia and the political undertone, but the sharp and hilarious writing elevate it to greatness. It is truly one of the best sitcoms ever made. If you liked The End of the F***ing World, you will enjoy Derry Girls. They differ in plot but they both carry similar elements of dark and dry humour. 

Watch out for Sister Michael, she is hilarious. 

Our staff rating: 9.1/10
Genre: Comedy
Actor: Dylan Llewellyn, Ian McElhinney, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Kathy Kiera Clarke, Leah O'Rourke, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Siobhan McSweeney, Tara Lynne O'Neill, Tommy Tiernan
Rating: TV-MA
1.

Lovesick

Why unlikely? Because, despite all the romance, its plot is fully based on a sexual transmitted infection. Hopelessly romantic twenty-something Dylan (Johnny Flynn) suddenly discovers he has chlamydia and is advised to contact all his (read: many) sexual encounters. Pair this plot summary with the fact that the show was originally called “Scrotal Recall” when it aired on British TV and you can be forgiven for looking the other way.

Underneath its awkward previous moniker, Lovesick is actually very funny, charming, and heavily romantic. Dylan is chaperoned by Luke (Daniel Ings, who you may know from Sex Education and The Crown), a seemingly confident but insecure business-school type, and Evie, Dylan's smart and cynical best friend, played by Antonia Thomas from Misfits. It soon becomes apparent that Evie and Dylan could be much more than just friends if only their timelines were to align.

Lovesick is a charming little series that homes in on the heart-breaking romance of failed relationships. Something you can easily find yourself watching many episodes in one take.

Our staff rating: 9.4/10
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Actor: Aimee Parkes, Antonia Thomas, Daniel Ings, Hannah Britland, Jessica Ellerby, Johnny Flynn, Joshua McGuire, Richard Thomson
Rating: TV-MA

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