Top 10 Best British TV Shows You Can Watch for Free Right Now

From Doctor Who to Downton Abbey, British TV has experienced a bit of a renaissance in the last ten years. With it's shorter series and low episode counts, UK TV is famed for it's high quality, good acting and ability to inspire cult followings from groups of fans from all over the world (hello Sherlock!).

Yet perhaps the best thing about British television is that so much of it is available to watch for free online on British streaming sites such as BBC iPlayer, All 4 and ITV Player. Not inside the UK? Don't fret - you can use ZenMate to access these sites for free from abroad. You can find out how by reading our article 'How to Watch UK TV Online' but before that, here's the top 10 best British TV shows, films and documentaries that you can watch for free right now:

1. Victoria

There's nothing more quintessentially British than a period drama and this one may well be the best one yet. Victoria is currently being shown in the UK on ITV and tells the story of the early years in the reign of Queen Victoria, who ascended to the throne at the very young age of 18. For anyone who loved Downton Abbey or likes to look at a nice castle, this is the show for you.

Where to watch: ITV Player

2. HyperNormalisation

HyperNormalisation is new documentary created exclusively for the BBC by cult documentary film-maker, Adam Curtis. Beginning simultaneously in New York and Damascus in 1975, Curtis explores the falsehoods of our modern reality and constructs a historical narrative of the last 40 years that provides explanations for the rise of Trump and the Islamic State, amongst other things. At 3 hours long it can't be described as a light watch but definitely worth it for what is already being touted as the best documentary of the year.

Where to watch: BBC iPlayer

3. Louis Theroux: Savile

Fifteen years ago, beloved British documentary maker Louis Theroux made the famous documentary 'When Louis Met Jimmy' about controversial British TV personality Jimmy Savile. In lieu of the revelations that came out about Savile after his death in 2011, Louis now revisits the footage and has made a new documentary to explore how he (and the rest of the world) allowed Savile to get away with rape and child abuse on such a large scale for so long. A difficult but important watch.

Where to watch: BBC iPlayer

4. This is England

This is England is an award-winning 2006 film about a group of young skinheads in 1980s England. The movie explores the rise of white nationalism in the skinhead subculture in working class England. There are 3 spinoff television series of the movie: This is England '86, '88 and '90. Each series continues to follow the characters from the film, exploring working class life, politics and music culture in England in the 80s and 90s.

7. Skins

Thought of by many Brits as the greatest teen drama of all time, Skins follows the lives of a group of teenagers in Bristol as they finish their final year of school. The show ran from 2007 - 2013 and was brave enough to replace it's entire cast every 2 years. The show was praised for dealing with controversial themes such as drug abuse, anorexia, pregnancy, sexuality and mental illness. Ask any young Brit of a certain generation and they will tell you that Skins has a special place in their heart.

Where to watch: All 7 seasons are available on All 4

6. Grayson Perry: Who Are You

Contemporary British artist Grayson Perry explores the modern British identity by interviewing people all over the UK including a Lib Dem MP, a young transgender man and a Muslim convert. He uses this information to create portraits in the form of tapestries, pots and sculptures that were displayed in a 2015 exhibition of the same name at the National Portrait Gallery.

Where to watch: All 4

7. The Inbetweeners

The Inbetweeners is a modern day British comedy classic about 4 awkward teenage boys who live in the suburbs in England. The show has won many awards, including a few BAFTAs, and produced two movie spinoffs that follow the boys on holiday in Malia and Australia respectively. If you love British humour and can relate to the plights of a group of awkward teenage boys then this is the show for you.

Where to watch: All 4

8. Deutschland '83

OK so this one isn't exactly a British TV Show but worth a shoutout since you can watch it on All 4 for free. Set in a divided Germany in 1983, Deutschland '83 is about a young, inexperienced East German soldier who becomes an undercover spy for the Stasi foreign service in West Germany. A perfect show for all German history buffs with a great 80s soundtrack to boot.

Where to watch: All 4

9. National Treasure

National Treasure is a 4 part drama about a much-loved British comedian who's life is turned around after an accusation of rape emerges that dates back to the 1990s. The show stars two of our greatest British actors, Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters, and leaves the audience guessing about the truth until the final reveal.

Where to watch: All 4

10. Peep Show

Having run from 2003 - 2015, Peep Show is one of the longest running British sitcoms ever. Starring British comedy duo Mitchell and Webb, the show is about two dysfunctional friends who share a flat in London. Over the years the show has gained a huge cult following and is a must watch for anyone with a love for British comedy.

Where to watch: All 9 seasons on All 4