Britain has given the world many icons of entertainment, from The Beatles and William Shakespeare to Michael Caine and Monty Python. This month, JB Hi-Fi has curated a selection of quality Brit flicks and TV series, and we’ve handpicked some of the best that Blighty has to offer…
THE CROWN: SEASON 1 & 2
Television is given the royal treatment in this lavish historical series that has been duly crowned with multiple Emmy awards. Experience an intimate insight into the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, from her coronation as a 25-year-old newlywed through to the late 1950s and early ’60s, as she struggles to navigate a rapidly changing world.
DOWNTON ABBEY: THE COMPLETE SERIES
A traditional British soap dressed up as a posh period drama, Downton Abbey became a cultural phenomenon over six acclaimed seasons and a recent feature film. Settle in with a nice cup of tea and chocolate digestives and explore the decorous halls of the eponymous Crawley family estate with this 24-disc set that contains all 52 episodes including the Christmas specials, and hours of exclusive bonus material.
Sci-fi villains don’t get more British than Doctor Who‘s deadliest enemies. Four Doctors come face to eye-stalk with the Daleks in this collection that rounds up some of the best new series episodes including the epic two-parter The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End; Asylum of the Daleks, which is as scary as it sounds; and Into the Dalek. An added bonus is one of the all-time great Dalek stories – the Tom Baker classic, Genesis of the Daleks.
CARRY ON – THE CLASSICS 1971–1976
Ooh, aah! British comedy doesn’t get any more innuendo-laden than the classic Carry On franchise. Join Sid James, Joan Sims, Kenneth Williams and the rest of the CO gang for eight riotous romps from the series’ golden era – Carry On Henry, Carry On at Your Convenience, Carry on Matron, Carry On Abroad, Carry On Girls, Carry On Dick, Carry On Behind, and Carry On England.
JAMES BOND – THE DANIEL CRAIG COLLECTION
Bond is as British as The Beatles, and as we wait for his latest adventure, No Time to Die, it’s time to get reacquainted with the Daniel Craig incarnation – from his stunning debut in Casino Royale (2006) and its revenge-fuelled fallout in Quantum of Solace (2008), to an attack on MI6 in Skyfall (2012) and the return of a familiar foe in Spectre (2015).
FAWLTY TOWERS – THE COMPLETE SERIES
Witness pure comedy gold as the incompetent Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) and his hotel staff deal with a dead guest, visiting Germans (“Don’t mention the war!”), customer dissatisfaction, hotel inspectors, and a rat on the loose. One of the best loved and eminently quotable of all Brit-coms is still just as hilarious today as it was back in the seventies.
HARRY POTTER: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
J. K. Rowling’s fantasy phenomenon boasts a quintessentially British flavour. Watch boy-wizard-in-training Harry and his pals discover the mysteries of The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets, meet The Prisoner of Azkaban, enter the Triwizard Tournament in The Goblet of Fire, confront The Order of the Phoenix, discover the identity of The Half-Blood Prince, and attempt to vanquish Voldemort in The Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2.
The latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s much-loved comedy is certainly the most delightfully silly and sumptuous take on the novel to date. It’s a tale of growing pains and romantic missteps, all in the search for true love, as the meddling Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) attempts to play matchmaker with her student companion (Mia Goth) and the local vicar (Josh O’Connor).
A best of British round-up wouldn’t be complete without a serving of geezers, guns and Guy Ritchie. The director’s cracking new crime flick recaptures the anarchic energy of his early films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, and is arguably his finest work to date. The Gentlemen is a violent, crass and masterfully orchestrated opera of criminal mischief from a veteran filmmaker back at the top of his game.
Gary Oldman is Winston Churchill, a man with the heart of a nation. Buried under pounds of jowly makeup, the actor’s Oscar-winning performance as the iconic British PM is the centrepiece of director Joe Wright’s gripping account of the inspirational wartime leader’s early days in office, following parliament’s loss of confidence in Neville Chamberlain.
SHERLOCK: SERIES 1
Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary sleuth was reborn in the shape of Benedict Cumberbatch in this slick BBC adaptation from Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, who update some of the classic Sherlock Holmes stories for contemporary times. Fans of the literary version can expect crimes afoot and the solving thereof by Holmes and Dr John Watson (Martin Freeman). Cumberbatch suits the role alarmingly well, with Freeman the perfect foil for his brusque colleague.
CALL THE MIDWIFE: SERIES 9
This beloved and long-running period drama, chronicling the lives of a group of midwives in East London during the 1950s and ’60s, is given a major shake up when Nonnatus House enters a new era, with prosperity on the horizon. It’s 1965 and the medics and midwives face new challenges as the East End is rejuvenated, rules change, budget cuts loom, diphtheria resurfaces, and tears are shed.