British Cozy Mysteries – TV

Warning: Consuming this post may lead you down a slippery slope of new television addictions, that could result in the paid subscriptions of Acorn TV and BritBox…

I had to include this… Wyatt goes into hysterics whenever Billy or I imitate Sam the Eagle saying “the British Way”...

The other week I stumbled upon an article that said that British Cozy Mysteries are the hottest television trend this year, and I totally could relate. That is pretty much exclusively what we watch in our house these days. I posted the article on my personal Facebook, saying that apparently Billy and I were not alone in our love for these shows, and I was pretty amazed at how many people commented that they are the exact same way! Fellow fans were just popping up left and right, sharing recommendations, sharing their favorites, asking which ones to watch. It was crazy! But it made me wonder how Billy and I got here, to this point. I am pretty sure I had never heard of any of these shows a few years ago, and now all of a sudden we are all in. I mean, I had always been a reader of of cozy mysteries, but the only one that was British at all was the Hamish Macbeth series. Which I still love!

So we started talking about it. Probably the very first one we watched was Hamish Macbeth and that was eons ago, so we didn’t really count it. Watching it didn’t spark an addiction, it was more because I was a fan of the books, and at the time it was pretty hard for us to watch any other shows anyway. Then we realized it all really began when Wyatt was born.

Wyatt was a teeny tiny little preemie peanut, 2lbs 13 oz at birth. When he finally got to come home 6 weeks later, the feeding schedule was pretty grueling, every two hours and it took us literally a half an hour to get him to eat, and then afterwards we had to hold him upright for another half an hour due to acid reflux. We spent A LOT of time just sitting and feeding him. Pretty much our whole existence like this for 6 months. So we watched A LOT of television. And we tried to find quiet, peaceful shows, because we didn’t want to wake him up if he was sleeping. One day Billy found the BBC Farm series – Tudor Farm, Edwardian Farm, Victorian Farm, War Time Farm on YouTube and we just devoured them. They were absolutely fascinating to us! (Edwardian Farm is my favorite!) But, then we ran out of them. And then I remembered the series All Creatures Great and Small, based on the books that I had loved a child. So, we watched those as well, until they swapped out the Helens and we stopped watching. But at this point, the damage was done. We were hooked on British television, although not yet the mysteries.

So we started looking about for more, and landed on Death in Paradise – not always super quiet but that was ok. Wyatt was getting a little older and we didn’t necessarily have the same requirements for our television watching. And he really enjoyed the theme song, and would do this little dance with his arms when it came on which was adorable. So we watched the seasons that Netflix had and then ran into the Great British Bake-Off, which of course is one of the best things ever, right? And from here, we were really off and running – we found Acorn TV first, then Britbox, and watched some Agatha Mystery movies, including And Then There Were None which was fabulous! We watched Agatha Raisin, Shakespeare and Hathaway, Father Brown (which is now my name for groundhogs because I saw one that lived right near a church last summer and checked on him all the time), Mapp and Lucia, The Bletchely Circle (Billy), Land Girls on Netflix, and most recently Shetland, but I think that is more of a crime procedural than mystery, as well as Doc Martin, also not a mystery. Miss Fisher, too, although that is an Australian show. And we are so grateful that we have a plethora out there to choose from! Everyone we have talked to has a different recommendation or favorite – Vera, Midsomer Murders, Foyle’s War, to name a few. So those are on our list.

So what is the draw? The article said that it is the soothing quality of these shows, and I have to agree wholeheartedly. Sure they are about murders, but all these quaint small towns, justice being done, there is no real sex or violence. In fact, sometimes Billy and I expect guns to be pulled and out pops a knife in the bad guy’s hand. It blows our minds that these police don’t have guns, and it just goes to show just how far the gun culture in America has trickled down into everything. There is no huge sense of danger or peril that keeps us full of anxiety (ok me) – it is a different type of murder altogether, one that can be followed up with a cup of tea at times. These shows are just fun and easy to watch. Although, we do have one question – why do British actors seem to get swapped up so frequently? Sometimes even in the same role, like no big deal? Maybe it is a big deal, but we just aren’t aware of it living over here. We talk about that too, how we are not familiar with British celebrities, although we are getting better all the time! (Like spotting Richard from Death in Paradise as Stewart in Doc Martin! We felt pretty cool)

I can’t choose a favorite, exactly, but I will say Death In Paradise is right up there, although I am not watching next season. I have my triad of lady sleuths I love, Agatha Raisin, Lu from Shakespeare and Hathaway, and then Frankie Drake, although she is on Canadian television. Shetland is probably one of the best television shows we have ever watched, hands down. But since we are still making our way through this mega-genre and have years to catch up for, we are still making up our minds for our favorites as we go along.

What about you? Are you a fan of British television, or cozy mysteries? I know some of you who read here live in England, Scotland, Ireland.. what do you think of this American obsession? And, any recommendations?

I’ll be waiting with my cup of tea for your answers..


13 thoughts on “British Cozy Mysteries – TV

  1. You are SO talking my language! I love them. I love them all. I got hooked on Brit TV back in the 70s with the original Forsyte Saga and Upstairs Downstairs. Then PBS added “Mystery!” (which is now part of “Masterpiece”) and that did it! All the Marples and Poirot and Sherlock Holmes (the original) and Sherlock more recently. I love how the actors are almost like a rep company — When Barnaby’s Inspector Jones showed up on “Death in Paradise” I was thrilled! “Midsomer,” “Doc M.,” “Death in Paradise” — oh, I love that! Have you watched “New Tricks”? I love that one (start from the beginning — not sequential in plots but relationships and characters evolve so beautifully.) “Rosemary and Thyme” is a favorite of mine with all the gardening. I just started “Father Brown” and am in a few seasons.

    I love them because they are “easy.” Not in figuring them out — I rarely do that all that well. But they tend to be in lovely locations (apart from the London-set ones and I like those too!) and the character relationships are such fun. Thanks for the article link. And this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh I forgot about the original Upstairs Downstairs! I watched that a million years ago when my stepmom loaned me her DVDs. You have quite a great list here, I am going to have to add them to our TBW list, Rosemary and Thyme in particular. That might be good once summer rolls around!

      I love them for that reason too – they really are just so easy. And yes, the locations are dreamy!

      I am glad you enjoyed the post!


      1. Do you know the premise of Rosemary and Thyme? Two women (“of an age” — one of whom is played by the woman who played Sister Evangelina in Call the Midwife) are gardeners who do estates, etc. And someone is always murdered! It’s great fun and the gardens are glorious!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I first started watching British TV when a blogger friend pointed me toward Acorn TV. Shetland was one of the first ones I got into…followed by Doc Martin, Vera, and Agatha Raisin. Then I got distracted by other shows…but now that I’m picturing myself sipping tea with a cozy mystery, I am all in!

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my gosh! This post is right up my ally! I was so excited reading it. Death in Paradise was one of our favorites but I was so disappointed when they switched DIs. We also love Shakespeare and Hathaway and I’m waiting for season 3 to come on Britbox. I watched Rosemary & Thyme years ago and that’s probably how I got hooked on the British Cozy Mysteries. I’m rewatching them since it’s been so long since I first watched them. I liked Father Brown but had to bail after season … I can’t remember which… because I hated the one actress and it was just going off the rails to me.

    I love the original Miss Marple. The stories can be like three episodes long so it takes me awhile to get through them but the actress who plays her is so authentic.

    We’ve been hooked on British shows for a long time, maybe because when I was a kid our local PBS showed shows like Doctor Who and Are You Being Served. Then, after I met my husband, I rediscovered Doctor Who and got him hooked on it. He’s obsessed with the show but I’m not as interested as I once was … it’s a bit too weird for me.

    I also watch As Times Go By, a very tame, slow paced sitcom starring Judi Dench. I have no idea why I like that show but I used to watch that when I worked late at the paper and couldn’t get my mind to shut off.

    I just started one called Grantchester … I think it is and so far I really like it but the main character looks so much like a guy I went to high school with (who is now on broadway and was nominated for a Tony, I should add) that I’m a bit distracted.

    We also have stumbled upon some other odd British sitcoms like One Foot in the Grave, Fawlty Towers, and, of course Monty Python (which my 13 year old loves now but I can’t figure out. I just wonder what they were smoking when they made that show.) and also the Vicar is Dibley. A more modern one I watch is Miranda, which is completely silly but I think silly is needed these days.

    I’ve made this comment so long I think I may need to do my own blog post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol I am glad you enjoyed it so much!! And I love long blog comments!! I think that is why I am calling it quits this time on Death in Paradise. Spoiler Alert – This last DI was my favorite, and he is leaving. I can’t anymore with it. Lol. Rosemary and Thyme is definitely on my radar now, I think we will try watching it this spring and summer!

      I’ve never been able to get into Dr. Who! Everyone tells me to watch it but I guess it is not my genre. I think I am going to add Grantchester and Miranda to my list as well! They both sound good! And crazy that you know someone who looks like the actor – and that the person you know is also a Broadway actor. Lol. Maybe the person you know and the Grantchester actor are distant relatives and don’t know it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s very possible about the actors! You never know. And I agree about the actor changes in these shows. Just end them! Don’t keep changing leads. It’s annoying. I won’t watch the next season of Death and Paradise for that reason. Well, that and the fact there are a lot of murderers living on that tiny little island in the Caribbean. I mean, who would want to live there – it’s like being neighbors with Jessica Fletcher.

        Speaking of Dr. Who, they change leads all the time — 13 times in 50 years to be exact, but it’s sort of written into the plot. It’s not always my cup of tea either (see what I did there? 😉😂), but the rest of my family is obsessed so I know a lot about it despite that fact.


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