vulture lists

9 Great Shows About Raunchy British Ladies You Can Stream Right Now

Photo: BBC

Birds, lasses, dames, broads. However you’d like to address a non-American lady — we recommend the tried and true woman! — the recent Hulu acquisition of The Bisexual, starring Desiree Akhavan as a 30-something who begins a new exploration of sexuality, joins the numerically small but creatively robust “raunchy ladies” television subgenre from across the pond. And, frankly, what better way to get into the Valentine’s Day spirit than by watching a bunch of risqué women wreak havoc on unsuspecting viewers? We’ve defined the art of the raunch a bit loosely here — we welcome the various interpretations pioneered through the decades by everyone from Phoebe Waller Bridge to Jennifer Saunders — so with that, please enjoy these nine shows that will make you both laugh and squirm.


Just! Give! Us! Season! Two! Phoebe Waller Bridge’s self-destructive exploration as a 30-something Londoner is one of Vulture’s favorite shows, but it’s so much more than our titular “Fleabag” sleeping around and running the city’s worst café. Because beneath that iconic lipstick shade is a grieving woman handling a profound loss and an even more profoundly chaotic family, which may provide some perspective to her self-proclaimed “greedy, perverted, selfish, apathetic, cynical, depraved, and morally bankrupt” persona. Where to watch: Amazon


If you injected Sex and the City with 70 percent more grit and MDMA, you’d get Sharon Horgan’s Pulling — which deals with three single woman in a less-than-cool part of London trying land some beaus while juggling their shitty day jobs. The series begins with one of the ladies (Horgan) dumping her snoozy fiancé when realizing the extent of her unhappiness, setting off a sexual reawakening of sorts for the trio. Let’s just say it’s met with mixed results, but their clubbing misadventures are our comedic gain. Where to watch: iTunes, YouTube

Nighty Night

If you think your neighbor is a real pain in the ass, turn on Nighty Night to get some perspective. When a beautician’s husband gets diagnosed with cancer, the full extent of his wife’s (Julia Davis) sociopathy is unleashed upon everyone around her, from her feeble-minded assistant to the quiet couple who lives across from them. In no particular order: She tries to shag the married neighbors, lies about her husband’s recovery to everyone who inquires, moves in with those married neighbors, and even attempts a homicide. Everyone grieves differently, we suppose. Where to watch: Amazon

The Vicar of Dibley

And now, let us pray for The Vicar of Dibley. Having the gall to infiltrate a parish in need of leadership as a female, Dawn French’s vicar shakes things up when she arrives in an unbearably conservative village with a fresh perspective — for starters, she has the gift of the gab, fancies a carousel of men, and enjoys offering her congregation chocolates. (Ack!) But in due time, these Dibley folk might actually open up their hearts (and tithings) to her, one boisterous sermon at a time. Where to watch: Amazon, BritBox

Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope

Okay, okay, we know that this particular dramedy is Irish as opposed to British, but we’d be remiss not to include its bawdy spirit anyway. Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope revolves around two codependent, 20-something women who reach a personal crossroads of sorts: They can’t act like a couple of daft youths anymore given their careers, but they’re not old enough to, like, care about having families and figuring out what “pay-related social insurance” means. Even worse? As they’re not following the gospel of clubbing and binge-drinking much anymore, the duo realize they might not actually have anything in common after all. Awkward, especially since they also live together. Where to watch: Netflix

Absolutely Fabulous

Legally, we would be put in pop-culture prison if we chose to omit Absolutely Fabulous from this list the gloriously messy patron saint of the Women Behaving Badly genre, sweetie darling. But if you still don’t know much about Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley’s sitcom, here’s the gist: A perpetually drunk or hungover PR executive (Saunders) and her perpetually drunk or hungover fashion editor bestie (Lumley) make London their swingin’ little bitch, much to the chagrin of pretty much everyone they interact with. Being an enabler has never looked so fun. Where to watch: Netflix, Hulu, BritBox

My Mad Fat Diary

Equal parts raunch and coming-of-age, My Mad Fat Diary peaks inside a teenage girl’s brain after a botched suicide attempt — but this is far from a sob story, no siree. Returning from a stint in a mental hospital, all she (Sharon Rooney) wants to do is befriend a few cool people and finally get laid by a lucky lad, which thoughtfully weaves into her lingering psychiatric problems. (She’s overweight, a fact that isn’t played for cheap laughs.) Come for her slow burn of gaining a shitload of confidence, and stay for the aforementioned shag! Where to watch: Hulu

Dead Boss

As if we needed further confirmation that Sharon Horgan deserves a High Priestess of Comedy title, Dead Boss finds her character wrongly convicted of murdering her annoying-as-hell boss and sentenced to over a decade in prison. She’s fine, totally fine, super fine?!?! dealing with this wild injustice, choosing to channel all of her energy into finding the perp who actually committed the crime. Because, as she puts it, “If I wait much longer, there’s a strong chance my wedding photos will be really disappointing.” We also highly recommend her other sitcom Catastrophe, which gets a worthy Y chromosome addition with Rob Delaney. Where to watch: Hulu

Getting On

Yeah, the American adaptation was also terrific, but let’s go back to hospital where it all began. Three women of varying demeanors and aptitudes have the pleasure of working in a geriatric ward — a slightly decrepit one, ironically enough — who, although clearly happy with their career choices, frequently have to deal with the figurative and literal shit that comes with dealing with the elderly. Add the fact that the nurse (Jo Brand, pure dynamite) just returned to work and has to learn all about the art of “political correctness,” and you have enough kindling to feed this comedy fire for years. Where to watch: Hulu

9 Great Streaming Shows About Raunchy British Ladies