Three very British TV-y ways to celebrate the Fourth of July.


Happy Fourth of July!

I like fireworks as much as the next person, but I’ll admit that I’ve never been very interested in historical adaptations of the American Revolutionary period. British stories from the same period, though? CATNIP! So today’s list is some viewing suggestions for British TV series and literary adaptations set in the late 1700s.

1. Poldark

Well, of course, Poldark. The series of books by Winston Graham and the two TV adaptations based on the series open with the hero, Ross Poldark, returning home as a veteran of the American War of Independence (a.k.a. The Revolutionary War). From there he whips his failing estate back into shape, tries to single-handedly revive the flailing Cornish mining industry, and falls in love with Demelza, one of the best heroines of all time. And check out how Aidan Turner (Ross in the 2015 adaptation) looks in a tricorn hat!

2. Hornblower

Okay, strictly speaking, the Horatio Hornblower series of books (by C.S. Forester) and the ITV series based on them, is set during the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802) and the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815)–a bit later than the 1770s time period in focus here–but, to use one of the most American of phrases, close enough for government work. The series is set mostly on the high seas, as H.M.S. navy sailor Horatio Hornblower rises up through the ranks relying on his brains and natural leadership abilities. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt (the viewers) that in the TV version, Hornblower looks like Ioan Gruffudd:

3. Casanova

Giacomo Casanova lived from 1725 to 1798; an eighteenth-century man’s man, ladies’ man, man about town. And even if you don’t know anything about him, you should watch this production, starring David Tennant and Peter O’Toole. Oh, it’s so great. Sweet at times, harsh at times, almost always heartbreaking: everything love is.

And just in case those aren’t enough choices to get you through the holiday, here’s a list of Top 10 Period Films Set in the 1700s.

Happy Fourth!


    • I think I’ve looked at the Hornblower books and concluded they were too much adventure, too many manly men (also: kind of dry) for me. But the series is AWESOME! Quite harsh in bits–seafaring was not an easy life, looks like–but very good nonetheless. It’s got a good cast and the ocean filming is beautiful (not to mention the Ioan Gruffudd and–bonus–Robert Lindsay scenery).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.