12 wonderfully queer period dramas to watch after Bridgerton – including Tipping The Velvet

Season three of Bridgerton further confirmed that swooning romanticism in period dramas is not exclusive to the straights! Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people existed in the past, after all.

With the recent release of the second half of season three of hit Regency-set period drama Bridgerton, we discovered that several fan-favourite characters are queer.

Benedict Bridgerton turned out to be pansexual, Lady Tilley Arnold was revealed to be queer and Francesca Bridgerton set to undertake a lesbian awakening, the period drama has never been more LGBTQ+!

However, Bridgerton season four isn’t likely to appear on our screens for two years, according to showrunner Jess Brownell. It’s a long time to wait, so if you’re thirsty for more queer period dramas in the meantime, look no further:


What do you do when you’re a 1840s husband and your wife is depressed? Send her to the seaside so she can have a lesbian affair with a fossil collector of course!

Mary (Kate Winslet) and Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan) grow closer along the Dorset coastline as their relationship blossoms from nursing to romance.

Lesbian period drama Ammonite is loosely inspired by the rumoured romantic relationship of British palaeontologist Mary Anning and Charlotte Murchison.

Black Mirror: San Junipero 

Episode four of Black Mirror season three is arguably the best episode the show has ever produced. And although it’s not set in the Regency period or the 1800s, it is a period piece nonetheless.

The episode is set in the beach resort of San Junipero in 1987. The shy Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) and the outgoing Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) are the will-they won’t-they lesbian couple at the heart of the hour story. 

Both uplifting and heart-wrenching, Black Mirror: San Junipero is a must-watch that will stay with you forever.


Across three seasons of the comedy-drama Dickinson, the famous poet Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld) is portrayed in her youth as she explores her artistic expression and sexuality. 

Emily’s best friend and lover, Sue (Ella Hunt), is by her side as the aspiring writer pushes away potential suitors and dedicates herself to an ambitious pursuit of greatness. 


Fingersmith still, one woman asleep and the other awake staring at her.
Fingersmith. (BBC)

Fingersmith, a 2005 three-part BBC mini-series, based on Sarah Waters‘ 2002 novel of the same name, is a Victorian-era lesbian drama.

The show follows scammer Richard (Rupert Evans) trying to seduce Maud Lilly (Elaine Cassidy) to claim her inherited fortune. 

But it’s not just Richard who catches Lily’s attention, she grows particularly fond of Richard’s protégé, orphan Sue (Sally Hawkins). It couldn’t be more packed with twists and turns.

If you’ve already seen the 2005 version of Fingersmith, it’s also inspired another, more recent adaptation too. 2016 movie The Handmaiden changes the setting to 1930s Japanese occupied Korea and turns it into a story of a young female pickpocket (Kim Tae-ri) who becomes a handmaiden to a beautiful Japanese heiress.

The Handmaiden is the ultimate ‘be gay, do crime’ film! At the 2018 Oscars, The Handmaiden won the category of Best Film Not in the English Language.

Gentleman Jack

No list of LGBTQ+ period dramas would be complete without beloved historical lesbian series Gentleman Jack is based on the diaries of Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) which documented years of her relationships.

Created by Sally Wainwright, the show follows Lister and her partner Ann (Sophie Rundle) as they inherit an extensive estate and begin to restore the land.

Focusing in on the unconventional nature of a woman landowner and a potentially dangerous lesbian romance, Gentleman Jack is an unmissable lesbian period drama.


This hidden gem of a psychological thriller was released in 2018 and is based on the true story of Lizzie Borden (Chloë Sevigny) who was acquitted of the murders of her father and stepmother in 1892.

As this story plays out in Massachusetts, Lizzie develops a secret intimacy with housemaid Bridget (Kristen Stewart).

The Buccaneers

Period drama The Buccaneers is based on Edith Wharton’s unfinished novel, published posthumously in 1938.

Set in the 1870s, the show follows five ambitious American women arriving on the shores of England in the hope of finding husbands in high society, 

As the show develops, Mabel (Josie Totah) and Honoria (Mia Threapleton) grow particularly close, but given the fact that it is the 1800s, their feelings are forced to be repressed. It’s ideal for lovers of lesbian angst.

The Favourite 

Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz go head to head in Yorgos Lanthimos’ period black comedy, The Favourite

The film explores the 18th-century love affair between Queen Anne (Colman) and two women: close aide Sarah Churchill (Weisz), and Sarah’s cousin Abigail Masham (Stone).

As both women take turns serving the queen, the monarch’s affections flit between the attractive young women and national affairs.

Tipping The Velvet

Tipping The Velvet: two women holding eachother close against a red curtain
Tipping The Velvet (BBC)

Is it cheating to include a third Sarah Waters adaptation on this list? She is the undisputed queen of lesbian period dramas, to be fair.

Based on Sarah Waters’ best-selling 1998 novel, the BBC’s explicit and uproarious Tipping The Velvet chronicles the pairing of Nancy (Rachael Stirling) and theatrical male impersonator Kitty (Keeley Hawes).

The pair fall head over heels with each other but when a disastrous event occurs, Nancy’s journey to happiness is diverted to different paths.

Vita & Virginia

Chanya Button’s 2018 biographical romantic period drama is set in the 1920s and follows writers Vita Sackville-West (Gemma Arterton) and Virginia Woolf (Elizabeth Debicki).

Vita & Virginia is based on the book of the same name by Eileen Atkins and tracks the two women as they have an affair while both being in open marriages.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Céline Sciamma’s stunning French historical romantic drama follows the late 19th-century lesbian affair of an aristocrat (Adèle Haenel) and painter (Noémie Merlant) commissioned to paint her portrait.

The gorgeous film was quickly recognised internationally; Portrait of a Lady on Fire won the Queer Palm at Cannes Film Festival and is widely renowned as one of the greatest films of all time.

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