10 British Shows To Stream In December

The cast of "The Crimson Field" (Photo: Courtesy of BBC/Todd Anthony)
The cast of "The Crimson Field" (Photo: Courtesy of BBC/Todd Anthony) 

The holidays are here, which means families are curling up around the virtual fireplace, basking in the soft glow of the LED screen. And now, thanks to the revolution of streaming, we have more options for distracting relatives from mentioning the word "impeachment" unless they're asking to pass the peach-mint ice cream.

What's coming to the U.S. in British TV this December? Let's run down the biggest titles arriving next month.

PBS:

The Crimson Field

Coming to PBS Passport starting Dec. 1, there's The Crimson Field. This single-season period drama series was initially broadcast on BBC One in April 2014 before coming to PBS in the summer of the following year. The series focused on the lives of medics, nurses, and patients during the Great War, at a fictional field hospital in France.

Starring Rupert Graves as Major Edward Crecy, Oona Chaplin as Kitty Trevelyan, and Hermione Norris as Grace Carter, the show only ran six episodes, the first three of which arrive on Dec. 1. The back three turn up a week later on Dec. 8.

Netflix:

Great British Baking Show Holidays Season 2

Continuing from last year, Netflix has added new episodes of The Great British Baking Show holiday specials. Following the same pattern as the ones added in 2018 being from the year before, in 2017, these episodes of The Great Christmas Baking Show and The Great Festive Baking Show are from last year, with the former having aired on Dec. 25, 2018, and the latter on New Year's Day 2019. (Sorry fans who know this year has the Derry Girls cast as celebrity guests, those will come to Netflix in 2020.)

HBO:

His Dark Materials Season 1

Continuing from its debut last month, the final four episodes of His Dark Materials Season 1 continue to drop on HBO Now and HBO Go once a week, starting on Monday, Dec. 2, with the finale on Dec. 23.

Acorn TV & BritBox

Midsomer Murders Series 21

The first of the month means more Midsomer Murders. The ridiculously popular series premieres on Dec. 1 on *both* Acorn TV and BritBox at the same time. DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) is back for four episodes featuring the usual "homicide, blackmail, greed, and betrayal."

This season will have "deep-running feuds and passions" at the “Paramount Dance Extravaganza,” and "a prolific real estate agent is murdered" at the unveiling of a dollhouse collection at Midsomer Museum.

Acorn TV

Ain't Misbehavin'

Ain't Misbehavin' is the famous lighthearted 1978 musical centered around WWII. We're highlighting this chestnut, which first aired in 1997 because it starts a young Robson Green (Grantchester) and Jerome Flynn back when he was a pop star known for 1950s classics and not a cutthroat murderer on Game of Thrones. It arrives Dec. 2.

The Art Detectives Series 4

A week later, on Dec. 9, Acorn debuts Series 4 of The Art Detectives. This three-episode series features real-life art historians Bendor Grosvenor and Emma Dabiri, who spend the show going around to the U.K.'s publicly owned art collections, highlighting lesser-known works hanging in smaller museums and country houses.

Slings & Arrows Series 3

In the middle of the month, Acorn TV adds another season of Slings & Arrows. The cult-favorite already added Seasons 1 and 2 to the service recently, now the next six episodes (from 2006) are coming on Dec. 16. Starring Paul Gross (Due South) as washed-up actor Geoffrey Tennant, the show also features Stephen Ouimette (Mentors), and Mark McKinney (Kids in the Hall).

BritBox:

Would I Lie to You? Season 13

The BBC One comedy panel show, Would I Lie To You?, adds the first four episodes of the 2019 season starting on Dec. 6.

This 13th season is supposed to run at least ten installments, with Episode 5 airing on Dec. 20, so one assumes Britbox will be adding more as the year rounds into 2020. The show is currently hosted by Rob Brydon and stars David Mitchell and Lee Mack as the team captains.

The Sweeney Seasons 1-4

Jumping backward in time, the earliest series on offer this month comes from the 1970s with Thames Television's The Sweeney, which aired from 1974-1978.

The series stars John Thaw a decade before he took on the lead role in Inspector Morse, as Detective Inspector Jack Regan and Dennis Waterman as his partner, Detective Sergeant George Carter. This police drama focused on two members of the Flying Squad, who specialize in armed robbery and violent crime in London. All four seasons arrive on Dec. 13.

Britmas!

And of course, it wouldn't be the holidays without Britmas. This now-annual tradition of bringing the BBC's Christmas programming directly to American shores has been a BritBox staple since it launched, and this year won't be any different.

It starts on Dec. 22 and runs through Christmas Day, with programs such as The Lights Before Christmas: Estates Aglow (12/22), Carols from Kings on Christmas eve, The Queen's Christmas Speech on the day itself, plus QI, Mock The Week, and Would I Lie To You? Christmas specials.