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4 TV series to familiarise yourself with the British accent

Whether you think it’s elegant or a bit pompous, the British accent doesn’t leave anyone indifferent. It is often the one we learn in school, but also the one we forget due to   American culture’s influence . In this article, we will showcase 4 TV series to watch or re-watch in the original version, to familiarise yourself with the British accent (or rather British ACCENTS) and to get used to its melody, which is so special to French ears.

1. Downton Abbey: the classic

At  the beginning of the 20th century, the Titanic sinks in the Atlantic Ocean, taking with it the heirs of Downton Abbey Castle. Lord Robert Crawley, the present Earl of Grantham, father of three daughters, has no male heir to claim his title or his estate.

A distant cousin, Matthew Crawley, is chosen as the heir. He decides to come and live at the estate to discover his new prerogatives and to familiarise himself with the rules of the high aristocracy.

This series is a real historical chronicle that focuses as much on British high society as on the lives of its servants.

And if the series leaves you wanting more, you can also watch the Downton Abbey movie.

  • Genre: drama, historical
  • Seasons: 6
  • Episodes: 52

This series is particularly interesting to work on your British accent! You will notice the difference between the way aristocracy speaks(also named Received Pronunciation, or the Queen’s English) and the regional accents of the characters from more modest backgrounds.

2. Misfits: teenagers not really superheroes

In a very different vein from Downton Abbey, Misfits will give you a much lighter introduction to the British accent. In this series, five young people sentenced to community service are caught in a strange storm. Having miraculously survived, they realise that they have acquired superpowers.

Unfortunately, they are not the only ones affected by the storm. Their supervisor goes on a killing spree. While trying to defend themselves, the teenagers will unfortunately kill him… This is the beginning of a long series of misadventures for our protagonists, who will have to learn to team up to cover up this murder as well as their powers!

Science fiction, dark humour and slang are the three ingredients that make this series both original and addictive.

  • Genre: science fiction, comedy
  • Seasons: 5
  • Episodes: 38

With Misfits, get ready to be amazed! You will not only discover the London accent, but also the very “chavvy” way of speaking of the character – Kelly. “Chav’ is a term used to refer to the stereotype of young people from disadvantaged suburbs.

3. Peaky Blinders: a must-see  to learn the British accent!

Welcome to Birmingham! Peaky Blinders tells the story of Thomas Shelby and his brothers, who don’t hesitate to get involved in crime to ensure their social ascension. Alcohol smuggling, illegal gambling, murder and betrayal are all part of Thomas Shelby’s ambition.

“The family business is going quite well until Chester Campbell arrives in town: this new chief of police has the task of cleaning up the town and eradicating the Peaky Blinders gang.

If you like dark atmospheres, English rock and action, this series is for you. I might as well warn you: you won’t be bored! The other good news is that a 6th season is in preparation. A series to see… “by order of the Peaky Blinders!”

  • Genre: drama, crime, action
  • Seasons: 5 (6th season coming soon)
  • Episodes: 30

Thanks to Peaky Blinders, you can get used to the Birmingham accent. Be warned, it is notoriously difficult for the ‘uninitiated’. Don’t worry, after five seasons you’ll understand it perfectly!

4. Behind Her Eyes: the intriguing mini-series

No superpowers, no explosions or English lords in this series. So what’s so special about it? Behind Her Eyes is a psychological thriller that takes us into the intimacy of a mysterious and somewhat disturbing love triangle.

Louise, a medical secretary and single mother, is seduced by her new boss David, the psychiatrist at the practice where she works. Unwittingly, she also becomes friends with his wife, a young woman named Adele. The more Louise gets to know both of them, the more she discovers the couple’s secrets.

Adele, who was committed to a psychiatric hospital for some time after the tragic death of her parents, married David when she was only 18. While Adele seems madly in love with David, his feelings do not seem to be reciprocated.

So why is David still married to Adele? Louise understands that the two partners share a terrible secret. She decides to unravel the mystery…

  • Genre: thriller, suspense, psychological
  • Season : 1
  • Episodes: 6

Did you know? For this series, Irish-born actress Eve Hewson, learnt  to speak with a British accent in just two weeks, thanks to a dialect coach.

Four series, four different styles, so there’s something for everyone to learn the British accent. Whether you want to learn English with this accent or another, you can rely on our trainers and our blended learning courses.