If you like period mystery series, I too can recommend Grantchester,
even if the shirtless swimming scenes are pretty shamelessly gratuitous, not to mention the gratuitously cute puppy. (I always wonder if they put this stuff in especially for American audiences *sigh* ...)
Another 50s-ish one, very similar but with a Catholic priest instead of an Anglican vicar (why do these always seem to come in pairs? BBC / ITV again?), is Father Brown
, with less romance and more quirky side characters. Mark Williams is especially quizzical in the title role, and for some reason makes me think of Wallace and Gromit, though I’m not aware of any direct connection.
And the Australian version, with a local doctor cum medical examiner as the sympathetic lonely detective, is Doctor Blake
, which I also like. I had the same reaction to it as escoville did to Midwife
-- the clothes and especially the cars looked 30s or 40s to me, but it's apparently meant to be at least 50s. But my mom, who was at least around at that time, said she thought all British (and by extension Australian?) cars had looked noticeably much older back then, whether because American industry put more emphasis on newer styles earlier, or because the Commonwealth economies were slower to recover after the war, or for whatever reason.
Another that started in the 40s and is now I think in the 50s is Foyle's War
, with Michael Kitchen and the improbably named Honeysuckle Weeks. The series would have been more daring if they had ever gotten together, but so far they haven’t and she’s got some boring young politician type. But still.
And yet another 50s (or 60s?) mystery is Endeavour
, which is the 3rd series of, and a prequel to, Inspector Morse
and Inspector Lewis,
both also good. Though we could always use more about crossword puzzles.
Among the better modern murder mysteries, in case you’re open to non-period settings, I might mention Case Histories
(Scottish, based on the Jackson Brodie books by Kate Atkinson); Wallander
(Swedish, but with Kenneth Branagh -- I find them a bit flat, but maybe that’s just the Nordic gloom); Inspector Lynley
(cheap modern knockoff of Dorothy L. Sayers, based on books by Elizabeth George, who is not
British, and it shows, and Ciaran Hinds is much too old and too dark-haired; but still); and Silk
(young barristers in London). I would also put in a good word for the somewhat older Dalgliesh
mysteries, based on books by P.D. James; and Touching Evil,
with Robson Green and Nicola Walker. And of course Prime Suspect,
with Helen Mirren, was wonderful from start to finish. To me all these feel like 'period' just because of all the ways in which everyday modern life in the UK is noticeably different than in the US. It's like getting a glimpse of a different culture, an unfamiliar society.
By the way, I’m compiling this list based on backlists from PBS of Mysteryhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Masterp...
and Masterpiece Theatre.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Masterp...
In the latter group, among long-ago miniseries that might be worth revisiting I would mention The Jewel in the Crown
(E.M. Forster, India); Fortunes of War
(Levant, Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson); Middlemarch
(Rufus Sewell! as brooding as in Zen); and the Sharpe
series with Sean Bean. Much more prosaic, but still watchable, was Doctor Finlay,
based on stories by A. J. Cronin about a Scottish doctor. A very nice feminist one was Bramwell
with Jemma Redgrave, about a woman doctor in the late 19th century in the East End of London.Indian Summers,
by the way, is like a revisiting of Forster, but not too bad. And Home Fires
is like a knockoff of 'Foyle's War,' but watchable -- though I don't know if I would go out and buy DVDs of any of these.Wolf Hall,
on the other hand, is directly based on the novel(s) by Hilary Mantel, and absolutely worth watching. Albeit sad.
Less typical might be Nostromo
, based on the novel by Joseph Conrad -- still relevant in terms of colonialization today. And of course there are lots of other films of individual classic novels -- Our Mutual Friend
(1998), Great Expectations
(1999), David Copperfield
(1999) ... There are also film versions of less-than-classic novels, like The Cazalets,
based on a readable series by Elizabeth Jane Howard.
Sorry, probably much, much more than you wanted to know. It's just always cheering to come across people who enjoy similar things, and I'm always pleased if any suggestions fall on fruitful ground. (-: