Mesmerized by British TV

by Sparkle Abbey

Since we read and write cozy mysteries, there was a high probability that we’d also like 
British mystery shows. We do. And not just the mysteries, but also the cooking, drama, and comedy shows. In fact, British TV has been popular for a while—well before the smash hit Downton Abbey. Did you know American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Wife Swap, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? were based on hit British shows?  Obviously, we’re not the only ones who like British TV. 

Since the arrival of Netflix, Acorn TV, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, there are more and more opportunities to stumble over shows that are just the bee’s knees! 

Why are we so drawn to them? It’s pretty simple: British TV is heavily character driven. The characters quirky, eccentric and still vulnerable, have a dry wit, are sarcastic, and some aren’t even likable. These are flawed, non-cookie-cutter characters who find themselves in extreme situations, whether drama or comedy, yet feel so realistic you find yourself rooting for them to get their act together and succeed. Plus there’s the fun English accent. 

Of courses there’s the food. Most of the time we have
no idea what the Brits are eating unless it’s a delicious pastryIn . Crumpets,
scones, buns, tea cake sandwiches, biscuits. Our stomachs are growling just
writing this blog!

We’ve definitely binged on our share of British TV. What happens when you watch too much? Well, you start using words like lovely, bollocks, bugger, nutter, daft, gobsmacked, tosser, dodgy, and cheers. You crave scones, fish and chips, Victoria sponge, shepherd’s pie, and pasties. You take drinking tea seriously, even going so far as to buy a lovely porcelain pot and loose leaf tea, and begin to hone the perfect cuppa tea (that would be pouring boiling water over the tea in the pot, let it steep for 2-5 minutes, remove the tea, adding a splash of milk and then sugar.) And sometimes, you accidentally-on-purpose slip into a really great American version of an English accent.

Here are a “few” of the shows we’ve enjoyed over the years:

The British TV Place

Midsomer Murders
Death in Paradise
Father Brown
Murdoch Mysteries Movies
Downton Abbey
The Crown
Very British Problems
Call the Midwife
Happy Valley
Doc Martin
Doctor Who
The Great British Baking Show (all versions)

What about you, luv? Did we miss your favorite? If so, let us know. We’re always open to recommendations.

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of two mystery authors (Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter). They are friends and neighbors as well as co-writers of the Pampered Pets Mystery Series. The pen name was created by combining the names of their rescue pets–Sparkle (Mary Lee’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog). If you want to make sure you’re up on all the Sparkle Abbey news, stop by their website and sign up for updates at

photo credit: adactio Tea and scones via photopin (license)
9 replies
  1. Arlene Kay
    Arlene Kay says:

    It always puzzles me how the Brits seem so trim but are constantly consuming full meals–breakfast, lunch, Tea, dinner–endless tasty food!

    • Sparkle Abbey
      Sparkle Abbey says:

      Arlene, totally forgot about those! Inspector Morse and Endeavor reminded me that Inspector Lewis is a great drama/mystery show too.
      They do eat all the time! The Brits walk more than us, that has to help work off all the calories.

  2. LD Masterson
    LD Masterson says:

    Depends on how far back you want to go. They're not around anymore but I grew up adoring John Steed and Emma Peel on The Avengers (1960's).

  3. kk
    kk says:

    And The Forsyte Saga, the original from decades ago (about 1970) and more recent when Soames was played by Damian Lewis!! I almost liked him though I was not supposed to.

    • Sparkle Abbey
      Sparkle Abbey says:

      River was interesting. I wish there had been more seasons to explore the characters. I had a hard time getting into Marcella though. Sounds like you enjoy the darker shows. 🙂

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