The Best 7 British Detective Shows to Watch While You Knit

Netflix and knitting are a match made in heaven. You get to watch your favorite shows and create something beautiful at the same time! It’s a win-win. If you’re making something small like a hat, you might be able to get your project done in just 2 or 3 episodes; if you’re on a serious knitflix binge, you can often make a sweater in the time it takes to watch a series.

I get a fair bit of my knitting done while I’m watching TV, and one of my favorite things to put on is a good mystery. Not just any mystery, though: a British detective show. I don’t know if it’s the interesting characters or the clever writing or the gorgeous scenery (or the accents), but something about a good British mystery hooks me every time. If your idea of a good time is curling up with a cup of tea, a good mystery, and your WIP, check out my list of the best British detective shows for knitflix and chill.

Credit: IMDB/Robert Viglasky Photography

1. Sherlock

I think we all knew this list would start with Sherlock. This show is just SO GOOD (disappointing final episode of the last season aside). I love the characters, the fast-moving plots, the sharp dialogue, and of course, the actors. The long runtime of each episode means you can fit in a lot of knitting, but I don’t recommend working on anything too complicated—if you’re like me, you’ll be too involved in the show to have much attention for your project.

British detective show

Credit: IMDB

2. Broadchurch

In the mood for something darker? Try Broadchurch! It’s intricate and moody and has strong, interesting, complex characters. It’s also incredibly addictive—I watched the whole thing in about a week. It moves at a slightly slower pace than Sherlock, so it’s great for projects that require a little more concentration.

Credit: IMDB

3. Poirot

If you’re in the mood for something lighter and much sillier, Poirot is the show for you. It’s fun and lets you focus on your knitting without missing what’s happening on the screen, so it’s great for projects that require attention, such as lacy shawls or colorwork sweaters.

Credit: IMDB/Ed Miller © World Productions

4. The Bletchley Circle

Awesome women breaking codes and solving crimes?! Count me in! This very excellent series will make you want to sit down and watch every episode RIGHT NOW, and the 1950s fashions will make you want to knit very sensible-yet-fabulous cardigans (like this one and this one) and warm shawls for drafty old buildings.

Credit: IMDB

5. Foyle’s War

This is the show that made me fall in love with British mysteries. It’s a quiet and often subtle show with little of the heart-pounding action of, say, Sherlock, but it’s extremely charming and the subject matter is fascinating. (And it doesn’t hurt that it has fabulous attention to historical detail.) The intricate plots and terrific writing will keep you coming back for more, so plan to make a lot of progress on your current WIP while you watch this one!

6. Midsomer Murders

Come for the cheesy theme music, stay for the layered plots and interesting characters. This slow-moving but highly enjoyable show is a quintessential mystery program: a seasoned detective solves murders with the help of his (occasionally bumbling) rookie partner. I’ve gotten a ton of knitting done while watching this show—in fact, I think most of the progress I’ve made on my sweater has happened during Midsomer Murders!

Credit: IMDB/Ben Blackall © 2014 – Red Production Company Limited

7. Happy Valley

Okay, confession: I haven’t actually watched this one. It’s been in my Netflix queue for ages, but there always seems to be something else I need to watch (like a new season of Broadchurch). I’ve heard nothing but good things about this show, though, and it sounds like it’s right up my alley: a smart, character-driven, and entertaining show with a strong female lead. So this one is next on my list of shows to watch, and I think I’ll pair it with my next project, the Kline Shawl!

I know there are plenty of fantastic British mysteries I’ve left off this list—Grantchester, Luther, Rosemary & Thyme, Prime Suspect—but rest assured that they’re all in my queue! I just need to finish all 18 seasons of Midsomer Murders first . . .

If I missed your favorite show, let me know in the comments!

Happy Knitflixing,

What will you stitch while solving a British detective show?

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