Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Ripped nightgowns and ample bosoms: the 10 best sexy historical dramas


If like us you have been revelling in the current costume drama smut-fest occurring  on our TV screens – we’re talking about the pervy Regency bonk-fest that is The Scandalous Lady W and the slightly more intellectual swinging of Life in Squares – then you’ll want to keep the, uh,  momentum going with these steamy must-sees, recommended by Stylist.co.uk contributor, Anna-Marie Crowhurst.

the libertine

It’s all about the wigs, flickering candlelight, plumed hats and unlaced jerkins in this dimly-lit biopic of Charles II’s filthy poet friend, the Earl of Rochester. A be-frock coated Johnny Depp is in classic form as the Earl with his long perm, campy eye rolls, frilly neck tie and whispered talk of “large greasy whores”. He fingerbangs prissy Rosamund Pike in a carriage, teaches Samantha Morton how to act, before boning her, gets noshed off by a few doxies and discovers a naked gangbang on a misty stroll through St James’s Park. Then he gets the pox and has to wear a fake nose (we still would). Homeland fans may wish to note that a foppish Rupert Friend also makes an appearance wearing lipstick.

You can buy The Libertine here

lady chatterley

Don’t worry about the fact that this Lawrence adap starts off with people in cloche hats talking about being listless or that these quintessentially English characters are speaking French, there isn’t much dialogue and a whole lotta boning. It all kicks off when Lady C, buttoned up in a granny coat watches Mellors having a rudie wash and goes a bit funny – and quickly escalates to stocking play, full frontal nudity (including a close of up of a real live erect penis, wayhey!) and banging on the floor of a shed, in a muddy puddle and against a tree. In this film, the following things are also sexy: water drinking, carpentry, tiny birds, rain. Fingers crossed the forthcoming BBC adaptation will be as filthy.

You can watch Lady Chatterley on Netflix now

tipping the velvet

The BBC’s dramatisation of Sarah Waters’ fine Victorian lesbo-fest remains a brilliantly-costumed and endlessly enjoyable frolic through oyster rubbing, music halls, cross-dressing, corsets and people saying, “Oh, you exquisite little tart!” Alongside relishing all the jaunty millinery, arch looks and smoking, discerning viewers will also be delighted by the lashings of saucy girl-on-girl action, which includes, but is not limited to, tongueing in a carriage, fiddling by the fire, oral on a four-poster and Anna Chancellor extravagantly riding a large leather strap-on to the soundtrack of circus music. We can’t wait for the stage version this autumn!

You can buy Tipping the Velvet here

Quills (2000) 


The story of the Marquis de Sade’s imprisonment in an insane asylum sees Kate Winslet as the maid with the hoiked up baps, Joaquin Phoenix as the smoking hot priest trying to keep his raging boner under control and Geoffrey Rush as the Marquis de Sade talking dirty about venus mounds, rosebuds and quims. Fun for the all the family highlights include a young Stephen Moyer, replete with blouse and cut-glass accent, getting a blowie off Michael Caine’s teenage wife, a sweaty threesome in a hayloft, Joaquin fantasising that he’s sexing Winslet’s corpse (yup) and, if you’re that way inclined, Winslet getting publicly flogged. 

You can buy Quills here

The Tudors (2007-2010)

the tudors

I mean, who doesn’t need a bit of star-studded late-medieval filth in their life? Throwing historical detail to the wind, this big budget four-season long romp fest sees Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Henry Cavill casting their britches and blouses aside to roll around on tapestries with ladies with long, tumbling hair while saying things like “What French graces have you learnt?” before getting gobbled in a bedchamber and “I lay claim to your maidenhead” before ravishing naughty-queen-of-historical-hijinks Natalie Dormer. If you like harpsichord music, angry kings and tasteful nudity, this is the historical rompage for you.

You can buy The Tudors here

Fanny Hill (2007) 

fanny hill

From the start of this classic BBC two-parter, in which innocent, country girl Fanny moves into a really rather charming brothel and is instructed into the ways of venus by a friendly prostitute with a white nightie and a cock-er-ney accent (“Let’s see if we can’t fetch off together!”), you know this is going to be an amusing interpretation of Mr Cleland’s racy tale. There’s something for everyone here: Alison Steadman being porked by an old man, Fanny being felt up by an old man, Fanny being boned by a young man, booby wenches as far as the eye can see, four posters, candelabras and plenty of gilt furniture. “Oh Fanny!” indeed.

You can buy Fanny Hill here


BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH IS IN THIS! *Hyperventilates* Also Eddie Redmayne, Eric Bana, Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman – it’s basically 115 minutes of wall-to-wall hotties wearing headdresses and doublets and talking about political intrigue in dark castles. Try to ignore the parts when historical events are explained V E R Y  S L O W L Y for stupid people, and focus on the beautifully photographed rumpy pumpy (yes, I did just say that) – there’s slow backlit boning, passionate candlelit boning, lingering shots of bare flesh, overspilling corsets and people being washed.

You can buy The Other Boleyn Girl here


Hilariously trashy, this is a porny, soft-focus remake of Truffaut’s Mississippi Mermaid set in late 19th-century Cuba and starring Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas as, er, people who have sex with each other, both in and out of period costume. There are languid, sexy baths, intense lovemaking behind gauzy white curtains and fair bit of wiggage. Look out also for Ange’s boobs, Tony’s bum and a memorable, and, it must be said, hilariously-choreographed acrobatic sex sesh involving Banderas hammering Jolie like his life depends on it. Very funny filth.

You can buy Original Sin here

Casanova (2015) 


Part of the Amazon Original pilots season, there is tantalisingly currently only one episode available of this brand new take on the legendary Venetian loverman, but one can only hope subsequent instalments will also open with a montage of Diego Luna muttering things in Spanish while boinking a succession of lovely ladies in different positions, including reverse cowgirl on a chair with a nun in a gigantic coif. The episode also manages to squeeze in plenty of artistically-lit whores in brothels, oral sex acts on quivering virgins in nighties, candles, and randomly exposed breasts. Bring on the series!

You can watch episode 1 on Amazon Prime

queen margot

Q. Is the Tudor period the filthiest in history? Here’s another set in the period, except this one is very arty and erotic and in France (clearly the French are the best at dirt), and it has incredible costumes and sets. There’s a party with flaming torches and people going at it in public, and the said queen is a minxy saucepot who likes leaving her top undone a lot, as well as wearing masks while getting frenziedly porked down alleyways. NB. There’s a lot of murder and bloodshed, so maybe don’t watch it while you’re having your tea.

You can buy La Reine Margot here



More women than ever before identify as “bisexual” or “no label”


Lie back and relax: conquering our fear of the gynaecologist


Best new erotic fiction and classic sexy reads for the beach in 2015


Five epic summer looks in film and how to recreate them


How to tell if you are being flirted with


Fewer than half of us are satisfied with our sex lives, new study says



“How beauty rituals help me manage my depression”

One writer found comfort in an unexpected place

21 Oct 2016

Stress is genuinely good for you, experts reveal

Forget everything you thought you knew about stress…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Must-watch Christmas TV: tune in for Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes

Just in time for Christmas

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Oct 2016

Bake Off fans, the BBC has already found a replacement show for GBBO

And it's set to hit our televisions very soon...

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Costa’s fancy new menu includes avocado toast and Prosecco

You may want to dress up for the world’s poshest Costa…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Real-life victims of revenge porn share their stories

“Within a week, everyone had seen them… I tried to kill myself shortly after”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

People diagnosed with a terminal illness share powerful life lessons

“You only get one life – and we need to live it”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

This gin is officially the best in Europe – and it's from the UK

Gin drinkers, take note…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Amazing tasting menus from top UK restaurants for under £50

Total steals from Michelin-starred spots

by Amy Swales
20 Oct 2016

9 hilarious tips for making it in a male-dominated workplace

"Never say anything that sounds like a question, even questions."

by Harriet Hall
20 Oct 2016