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Costume Dramas

Oliver Twist. Pride & Prejudice. A Room with a View. Sense and Sensibility. They’re all costume dramas – a very British tradition. But, what exactly is a costume drama?

The key elements of a costume drama.

Costume dramas are films or television programmes set during a particular period in history. The name comes from the costumes the actors wear to in order to recreate the atmosphere of the period. But there’s more to costume dramas than just the costumes.


Costume dramas are usually adaptations of classic novels. Popular authors to make it to the screen are Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters and Charles Dickens.


Costume dramas can be either feature films or movies made for TV. Many television versions are also made as series. This is because the original books have long and complicated plots that are hard to condense into a two-hour movie.


All good costume dramas need a historical setting. Typical costume dramas take place in England during the Georgian (1714-1830), Victorian (1837-1901) or Edwardian eras (1901-910).


Elaborate costumes are an essential part of a costume drama. The actresses often wear lavish dresses and large hats, and the actors wear stiff suits and top hats. Back then, the clothes people wore were very important. England was a very class-driven society, and the things you wore showed which class you were from.


This is the country estate of one of the wealthy characters or families in the costume drama. It’s usually very large with many beautifully-furnished rooms. And around it are extensive grounds where the characters go hunting or horse riding.

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About Learn Hot English

Great news! The latest issue of Hot English (06) is out now! Learn over 1,000 useful words and expressions and improve your listening skills with Learn Hot English! This month we’re looking at 10 movie quotes with the Present Simple. Plus, 10 words for talking about videos, 8 useful expressions for talking about bedtime, idioms, phrasal verbs... plus: • Jokes – jokes in English. • Functional language – how to avoid a question. • Accents – Cockney English. • Science – the Ig Nobels. • Language – phrasal verb particles. • Cinema & TV – costume dramas. • Literature – Jane Eyre. • Celebrities – Mia Wasikowska. • Technology – Steve Jobs. • Cuisine – sandwiches. • Cinema – Casablanca. • Slang – Dictionary of Slang • Work – music while you work. • Body language – hand gestures. AND LOTS, LOTS MORE! By reading and listening to all this great content, you'll improve your English reading and listening skills and learn up to 1,000 useful words or expressions. Plus, you'll get a better job and pass English-language exams more easily. Guaranteed!