Anglophiles, after sharing earlier my favorite shows to watch on BritBox, it is time to explore my favorites on AcornTV because it too is full of wonderful programming to satiate your penchant for British cosy mysteries AND a few internationals series that are well worth your time.
What I enjoy about AcornTV, along with its long list of British series to watch is that it also includes Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and even a series set in Denmark. Oh! And I cannot forget France, and even Italy. Yep. Nearly all of the series are more modern than what you will find on BritBox which contains classics from decades past as well as modern series and programs from BBC and iTV, and AcornTV ($6.99/mo) also has many original series of which many are included in my list today.
Of course, beyond my list below are many more in their catalog I look forward to exploring, but all 23 series plus a handful of special episodes, films and limited series I have watched in their entirety and genuinely enjoyed for one reason or another which is why they have made the list. A few I have watched have not made the list, so rest assured, if it’s here, it speaks to quality writing, an enjoyable storyline, a strong cast and/or an especially strong lead, consistent storylines that keep you engaged and more often than not, beautiful settings whether it is in the English countryside or Auckland, New Zealand.
Let’s take a look at the list, the series arranged in no particular order.
A hilarious and charming cosy mystery series based on the bestselling books by M.C. Beaton centered around amateur sleuth Agatha Raisin. Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Agatha Raisin, played by Ashley Jensen, retires early from a successful and extremely busy life in public relations in London to a quaint village in the Cotswolds and soon finds a second career as an amateur detective. Currently, there are four seasons. Get ready to laugh, be charmed by the setting and I do love the exterior of Agatha’s cottage as well as some wild crimes to solve.
2. Candice Renoir
As I mentioned above, not all of AcornTV’s programs are based in England, nor are they in English, but they do all have English subtitles, and my favorite French series on AcornTV is Candice Renoir. Candice Renoir is a divorced mother of four in her 40s who also is a police captain in a French coastal city where she uses her the benefit of parental experience to solve crimes her team wouldn’t necessarily have cracked. There are nine seasons, and so far six are available on AcornTV. The sexual tension between Renoir and her colleague Antoine keep you coming back season after season, and with a bit of humor and a whole lot of sleuthing, this is a great series for Francophiles on an Anglophile streaming platform.
3. Doc Martin
Set in northern Devon, England, Martin Clunes stars as Dr. Martin Ellingham, described as a surly, self-centered medical doctor in the small town of town of Portwenn,that sits on the bay of Bristol. While the final season wrapped up earlier this year, there are many seasons to enjoy (10) if you haven’t yet watched this dramedy. Follow the cranky, yet indirectly caring antics of Doc Martin as he cares for the quirky citizens, friends and family in a beautiful setting.
4. Foyle’s War
Created and written by Anthony Horowitz (author and creator of Magpie Mysteries), Foyle’s War is set during WWII and is beloved by fans. With nine seasons, DCS Foyle (Michael Kitchens) fights his own war on the home-front; investigating crime on the south coast of England. As the series continues, we see the retired detective working as an MI5 agent in the aftermath of the war.
5. Harry Wild
Set in Dublin, Jane Seymour stars as Harriet Wild (nicknamed Harry) in a series that while only one season so far, has a second one coming I am told. The series begins when literature professor Harry Wild, who is adjusting to retirement, is mugged. While recovering at the home of her son (Kevin Ryan), a detective in the Dublin police, Harry gleans a clue for his current case. But when she’s rebuffed, Harry decides to solve the crime herself. Recruiting an unlikely young sidekick (Rohan Nedd), she finds a new path as a private investigator.
6. Happy Valley
Winner of five BAFTA Awards–for Best Drama, Best Actress, and Best Writer–Happy Valley consists of three seasons and is a wholehearted drama. There were episodes that were hard to watch for me personally, but overall, it is a well-acted and well written series, starring Sarah Lancashire (who starred as Julia Child in Julia last year, Last Tango in Halifax as well). Lancashire stars as Yorkshire police sergeant Catherine Cawood who pursues the man (James Norton, Grantchester) who assaulted her late daughter, unaware he is now part of a secret kidnapping plot. The third and final season is now available on AcornTV and was well received by critics yet again.
Chosen aș a Petit Plaisir for episode #336, I thoroughly enjoyed this series which consists of three seasons, and last summer watched it far too quickly. Set in a beautiful Norfolk town, (in fact, the setting was chosen by the lead actor Stephen Fry who grew up in Norfolk), Fry stars as Peter Kingdom, a compassionate solicitor running a law practice in a quaint, seaside town in Norfolk. As he handles the cases of his oddball clients, he also contends with the mysterious disappearance of his brother and the return of his wayward sister (Hermione Norris. However, as I shared in my Petit Plaisir, it is his assistant attorney, Lyle, that captured my attention and brought many a laugh in this dramedy. I could easily, and sometimes find myself doing so, watching these episodes more than once. Quite a lot of fun.
8. Ladies of Letters
If you are looking for a laugh-out-loud, absurdly silly comedy, look no further than Ladies of Letters. Based on a 13 -ear long BBC Radio 4 series, and now turned into a television series starring Anna Reid (Last Tango in Halifax, Sanditon) and Maureen Lipman, these two leading ladies no doubt had a lot of fun making this series. Depicting two middle-age “crazy” English widows who become best friends via letters, over many misadventure-filled years, the two originally met under a table at a wedding, when both were drunk with merriment, misunderstanding comes naturally to them. The unique presentation of this series is each lady and their kin acting out the events in the letters: in their homes, prison or wherever else they land, revealing the hilarious, venomous, or empathetic truth, between their ever-increasing lines. Like I said, absurdly funny and definitely unique.
9. Midsomer Murders
The classic British cosy mystery that just wrapped up its 23rd season and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon: Midsomer Murders. Based on the novels by Caroline Graham, if you want murder in an idyllic English countryside village, this is your series. Filmed in Oxford, but using the fictitious name of Midsomer, DCI Tom Barnaby (John Nettles from Bergerac – this series is available on BritBox), stars in the first ten+ seasons and then, upon his retirement, DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) steps in for the next 12+ series and counting. As many already know, this is must-watch viewing for Anglophiles.
10. Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries
The original Fisher when it comes to solving murder mysteries and set in Melbourne, Australia, in the 1930s, Essie Davis stars as Phryne Fisher, the stylish and independent Miss Fisher who is well before her time in her approach to living life as a modern woman in a mostly male world when it comes to, not just the police force, but life in general. With glamour and romance and always a pistol in her possession, Miss Fisher is a riotous and welcomed sleuthing series to watch.
11. Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries
Technically a spin-off from Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Ms Fisher is set in the 1960s and Ms. Fisher is Miss Fisher’s long lost niece. Geraldine Hakewill stars as Peregrine Fisher who decides to follow in her aunt’s stylish footsteps as a lady detective for a new era. With the help of the handsome, straitlaced Detective James Steed (Joel Jackson) and a group of accomplished women, the crimes continue to be solved in stylish fashion.
12. Mr. & Mrs. Murder
Unfortunately, this series only has one season, but I wish there were more as I genuinely enjoyed it. Mr. & Mrs. Murder is set in Australia and centers around two crime scene cleaning service workers who happen to be married and also happen to be amateur sleuths. Flirtatious and fun, this duo Nicola (Kat Stewart) and Charlie Buchanan (Shaun Micallef) is worth watching.
13. Murdoch Mysteries
If you love a little Canadian (and world) history, science that hints at discoveries we now take for granted as common place, and a forward looking awareness to a variety of cultural topics currently in the news, along with solving a good mystery, you will want to watch Murdoch Mysteries. Based on Maureen Jennings’ books and set in 1890s in Toronto, Canada, follow Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), Dr. Julia Ogden and Constable Crabtree and the rest of the cast as they solves turn-of-the-century in what is now going on for 16 seasons.
14. My Life is Murder w/Lucy Lawless
An original AcornTV series set in Auckland, New Zealand, Lucy Lawless stars as a retired police detective turned private investigator, Alexa Crowe. Her old boss from the police force regularly asks for her insight on cold cases, she goes about solving the crimes with her a savvy police data-analyst. There are three seasons so far, and it’s full of colorful wardrobes worn by both the leading ladies as well as a stubborn streak by Alexa Crowe in nearly all she does, even baking bread as a side hobby.
15. Signora Volpe
Be swept away to beautiful Umbria, Italy, with Emilia Fox (Silent Witness) starring as Sylvia Fox in a so far only one season series, but hopefully there will be more. A disgruntled former spy for British intelligence, Fox heads down to Italy for her niece’s wedding and begins to become involved tackling other cases as well as finding chemistry with a local detective. From her clothing, her independent nature, her intelligence, this is a series I loved.
16. Brokenwood Mysteries
Set in New Zealand, and now in its 8th season, it reminds me of NZ’s version of Midsomer Murders. Lead by “DI Mike Shepherd, who arrives to the seemingly peaceful town of Brokenwood with a classic car, a country music collection, and an indeterminate number of ex-wives, his assistant, DC Kristin Sims, who is a by-the-book investigator 15 years younger than her boss’s car the two work quite well together to solve some interesting and mind-scratching mysteries.”
17. The Chelsea Detective
An AcornTV original series that has only had one season so far, but again, I am hoping for more, the title reveals the setting – Chelsea, London – a beautiful part of London, but one evidentially hiding all sorts of sordid crimes. It’s the cast I greatly enjoy int hsi series as DI Max Arnold (Adrian Scarborough) and his partner, DS Priya Shamsie (Sonita Henry), live different personal lives with their own dilemmas when it comes to love, marriage, child-rearing, they work in tandem to discover the truth while at work.
18. The Madame Blanc Mysteries
Set in France (but starring British actors, so entirely in English), The Madame Blanc Mysteries stars Sally Lindsay as antiques dealer Jean White who following her husband’s sudden death is nearly bankrupt after her, so she heads to their one last asset: a cottage in antiques hub Sainte Victoire, France. It is here in France that Jean begins investigating his death, aided by sympathetic taxi driver Dom (Steve Edge) who is absolutely lovable. She soon finds the colorful locals have a treasure trove of other mysteries for her to assess, too. There are two seasons so far, and I have a strong feeling there will definitely be a season three.
19. The Sommerdahl Murders
Not an Anglophile series at all, but oh sooooo good! Set in Denmark with English subtitles, I whizzed through this series this summer. There are only three seasons as it follows an intended arc and neatly concludes by the end of season three. If you have watched Borgen and even Seaside Hotel, you will recognize some of the actors. “DCI Dan Sommerdahl investigates murders in a lovely Danish coastal town with his best friend, Detective Flemming Torp, and his wife, Marianne, a criminal technician. But Dan’s years of devotion to the job have hurt his marriage, and with Marianne wanting a divorce, Dan discovers his rival for her affections is none other than his best friend. And they all must still work together to solve crimes.”
20. Under the Vines
Slip away to New Zealand once again and watch a series set in the vineyards starring Rebecca Gibney and Charles Edward. A dramedy that follows these two unlikely city slickers who inherit a failing vineyard. Despite neither having ever done a hard day’s work in their lives and both despising the other, they must somehow make the vineyard successful so they can sell up, split up, and get out of there. But then, love and chemistry and relationships and life intervene. There are two seasons so far and hopefully a third soon to come.
21. Pie in the Sky
I shared in this post of my favorite BritBox series that Pie in the Sky was available on that platform, and it is, but it originally was available on AcornTV and still is.
22. The South Westerlies
There is only one season in this series so far, and while I am not sure if there will be another, I do hope so. Set in Ireland, this dramedy centers around an environmental consultant Kate Ryan (Orla Brady) who goes undercover in a small town to quell objections to a wind farm. But Kate has a complicated history with Carrigeen. Soon after arriving with her son, she runs into an ex-friend and an old flame and realizes her task won’t be a breeze.
23. Whitestable Pearl
A single mom with a grown sun, Pearl (Kerry Godliman) pursues her lifelong dream and starts a private detective agency, which she runs from her family restaurant in the coastal town of Whitstable, thus the series’ name. Her private detective agency is off to a good start until she runs up against a surly new cop in town DCI Mike McGuire who has demons of his own. The two are drawn together repeatedly over the course of two seasons, and I look forward to season three.
Special Episodes, Limited Series and Films I Enjoyed
- Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets
- Mary Berry: Love to Cook
- Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears
- Restless (as shared and recommended in Friday’s This & That)
- Inside The Ritz Hotel London
- Midzomer Murders; 25 Years of Mayhem, special anniversary episode
- The Savoy
- Victoria Wood’s Nice Cup of Tea
- Last Love, the Petit Plaisir in episode #60 (set in France with two lovely co-stars)
And with that, TSLL’s 5th Annual British Week comes to a close. BUT! Not before I reveal the winners of the six giveaways. Be sure to stop by tomorrow for a list of each of the winners, and if you see your name, be sure to contact me no later than Monday May 29th to claim your gift. You have until 4pm Pacific today (Saturday May 27th) to enter all of the giveaways if you are a TOP Tier Member. Find all of the posts shared during this year’s TSLL’s British Week here.
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Explore all of the posts and content shared during TSLL’s 5th Annual British Week