Literary-inspired period dramas to watch this winter

Winter is most certainly here and with that in mind, here’s some literary-inspired period dramas for you for to snuggle up with during the cold evenings – all sorted by the historical period they’re set in.


1529, Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall is an intimate portrait of Thomas Cromwell, the brilliant and ruthless advisor in the court of Henry VIII. As he walks the corridors of power at the Tudor court, Cromwell must navigate deadly political intrigue, the King’s tempestuous relationship with Anne Boleyn and the religious upheavals of the Protestant reformation.

This series is based on Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies.


1743 (and 1945), Outlander

After serving as a British Army nurse in World War II, Claire Randall is enjoying a second honeymoon in Scotland with husband Frank, an MI6 officer looking forward to a new career as an Oxford historian. Suddenly, Claire is transported to 1743 where her freedom and life are threatened. Her only shot at survival is Jamie Fraser, a strapping Scots warrior with a complicated past and a disarming sense of humor.

This series is based on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels, which start here.


1783, Poldark

Ross Poldark returns home from the American Revolutionary War to a country in the grip of recession. In his absence, his father has died, his land and mines have gone to ruin and his childhood sweetheart has become engaged to his cousin. Feeling betrayed by everything he loves, Ross has to rebuild his life, with a new business venture, making new enemies and finding a new love where he least expects it.

This series is based on Winston Graham’s novels about Ross Poldark, which start here.


1803, Death Comes To Pemberley

Elizabeth and Darcy, now married and with a son, are preparing for the lavish annual ball at their magnificent Pemberley home when festivities are brought to an abrupt halt by a murder. The family becomes caught up the ensuing investigation, a mysterious web of secrets and deceit will threaten all that the Darcys hold dear.

This series is based on P.D. James' crime novel of the same name.


1806, The Secret River

William Thornhill, a man of quick temper and deep feelings, is transported from the slums of London to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife Sal and their children he arrives in a harsh land he cannot understand. But the colony can turn a convict into a free man.

This series is based on Kate Grenville’s beloved classic of the same name.

Ed. note: This DVD is due for release on Wednesday 24 June.


1924, Parade’s End

In the dying days of Edwardian England, English aristocrat Christopher Tietjens finds himself marrying Sylvia, a beautiful but cruel socialite who is pregnant with a child who may or may not be his. Christopher is determined to remain loyal to his wife, but his life is transformed the day he meets Valentine Wannop, a fearless young suffragette.

This series is based on a novels by Ford Maddox Ford, which are collected in one volume here.

Browse more literary adaptations here.