Best of British: Watch UK Telly on hoopla!

Perhaps you’ve heard Noël Coward’s comic line “mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.” The dog days of summer might just as well tempt you indoors, though, and if so, there’s plenty of British television fare to keep you sane while you stay in shade. Did you know that, while you have access to excellent programming via Acorn TV, the Abbot Public Library also offers access to British TV and movies through hoopla? Brilliant!

Tune your telly (oops–laptop/Smart TV/mobile device) to hoopla’s curated British Drama list for 45 feature-length films you just may not have seen yet, or perhaps might like to see again. Here, you’ll find modern, book-based classics like Wolf Hall and Rebecca rubbing shoulders with historic crime drama Gunpowder (starring Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington as Guy Fawkes) and spy thriller Page Eight (with Rachel Weisz and Bill Nighy). You’ll get to sample some TV series openers, too. Another category that might tempt you is hoopla’s Masterpiece Theatre collection, 99% of which hails from the British Isles!

No one does a TV series quite like the Brits, and they’re available in abundance on hoopla if you just know where to look. For strictly BBC content, try this search, and–blimey–152 results! There’s Absolutely Fabulous, a pop culture touchstone with guest appearances from the likes of Elton John and Naomi Campbell (this one’s not currently available on Acorn TV). You’ll also find cozy favorites like Father Brown (also available only on hoopla), ready to whisk you away from current stresses to a country parish brimming with murder and mayhem.

So settle in with a cuppa, flick on the AC, and get your British on with hoopla!

Oh, and by the way, if you’d like access to our ample collection of British DVDs, they are once more available to you! Please see the post “What You Need to Know for Curbside Pickup” for all the details. And — good news – during Curbside Service, there is no fee to borrow DVDs!

If you’re new to hoopla, visit our FAQs page for an easy how-to. If you don’t currently have a library card, you can get started here.

Historical Fiction Reviews and NextReads Newsletters

Travel to another time and place with these historical fiction books! You can check these ebooks and audiobooks out with your library card on hoopla or Overdrive/the Libby app.

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Julian Fellowes created the hit PBS series, Downton Abbey, and won many awards for his screenplays. His novel Belgravia has been filmed for a mini-series. The story begins in 1815 Belgravia, London. On the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, events occur at the famous ball given by the Duchess of Richmond that will follow the characters with their secrets to unfold twenty-five years later. 

Read the Overdrive ebook or listen to the hoopla audiobook

Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

Set in early twentieth century Boston, Diamant tells the story of a Jewish girl, Addie Baum growing up with her three sisters and Russian immigrant parents. They live through the 1918 Influenza epidemic. Addie works toward her dream of going to college and becoming a career woman. She enters the work force as a newspaper typist. Diamant began her career as a journalist and is a Massachusetts author.

Read the Overdrive ebook or listen to the hoopla audiobook.

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Award-winning author Colm Toibin delivers an engaging story of Irish immigrant Eilis Lacey’s experiences having to move to Brooklyn on her own to find a job and then being torn between the life she has found there and returning home to her family. Colm Toibin’s wonderful writing depicts life in the 1950s, Eilis living in a boarding house, attending dances, studying at Brooklyn College, her aching homesickness and the people and events that shape the person she becomes.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Abraham Verghese is an American physician and winner of a National Humanities Medal. Born in Ethiopia he emigrated with his family to the United States and did his fellowship at Boston University School of Medicine during the AIDS epidemic. His novel begins in 1947. Twin brothers, Marion and Shiva were born from a secret union between an Indian nun and a British surgeon. Their mother died in childbirth and the father abandons them. The twins grew up cared for by two doctors. The Ethiopian Civil War began and the ill fated love Marion and Shiva shared for the same woman drove them apart. Marion continues his medical training and becomes a surgeon in New York where he becomes reunited with his estranged father and brother. 

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Set in Jane Austen’s time, Chevalier brings to life the world of Lyme Regis where Mary Anning and her friend Elizabeth Philpot search the rocky beaches for fossils. Mary Anning’s amazing discoveries had a significant impact on the scientific community.

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Coates tells the story of Hiram Walker who was born into slavery on a plantation in Virginia in the mid 1800s. His father was the owner of the plantation. Hiram realizes he has an extraordinary photographic memory except he can’t remember his mother who was sold as a slave when he was young. He then recognizes his mother in a vision as a water dancer when he has a near death experience. Hiram wants to escape slavery and embarks on a journey into the Underground and a fight for freedom. Coates began his career as a journalist and is a National Book Award winner for Between the World and Me.


You can sign up to receive booklist newsletters via email from NextReads through NOBLE. Choose from a variety of genres, including historical fiction, to find your next great read, and search for ebook and audiobook formats to download through Overdrive/the Libby app and hoopla.

You can also search for reading recommendations through NoveList (see our NoveList post for more information on this resource) or contact the Reference staff at mar@noblenet.org.