UK-based television shows have for decades been acclaimed as some of the best TV in the world. Now there’s a streaming service that’s dedicated to this type of programming. It’s called BritBox, and it has been making its mark among the huge crowd of similar services. So, what is BritBox? Is it just for fans of UK television or can its shows attract a larger audience? Here’s a look at what you need you need to know about the service and whether you might want to try it out for yourself.
So, what is BritBox anyway?
The service is a joint venture between the publicly funded BBC TV network and the privately owed ITV. It launched in the US in March of 2017. It offers classic and current TV shows from both networks, along with shows from the UK based Channel 4 and Channel 5. It also a small but growing number of exclusive original shows. Currently, the service has over 1 million paid US subscribers.
Where is BritBox available?
As we mentioned, the service first launched in the US in 2017, and in 2018 it expanded to Canada. In late 2019, the service finally launched in the UK itself.
How much is BritBox and is there a free trial?
In the US, you can get BritBox for $6.99 a month, or for $69.99 for an annual subscription. Both come with a seven-day free trial. In Canada, it’s available for $8.99 CAD per month and $89.99 CAD for an annual subscription, again with a seven-day free trial. In the UK, the price is £5.99 per month with a generous 30-day free trial.
What platforms support BritBox?
The service has apps for iOS and Android devices, along with the Roku and Amazon Fire TV sticks, set-top boxes and TVs. It’s also available for Apple TV set-top owners and Samsung smart TVs (2015 models or newer). In addition, the BritBox channel is available via Amazon Prime Video and the Apple TV OS. Finally, PC owners can watch Britbox via its official web site.
What are the best shows on BritBox?
BritBox has several different categories of TV shows and TV movies you can watch. We’ve broken down the best shows on BritBox by genre below.
The UK has no shortage of mystery and crime shows, usually featuring detectives that are different than what you might find on US shows. Here’s just some of the mystery shows you can binge-watch on BritBox:
- Father Brown – You can watch all seven current seasons of this hugely popular mystery series. It’s set in the 1950s in a small town, where a Catholic priest solves murders.
- Vera – Actress Brenda Blethyn plays the role of DCI Vera Stanhope in this ITV series. She may not look or act like the standard police detective, but she always solves the case.
- Maigret – Rowan Atkinson ditches his normal comedy personas of Mr. Bean and Johnny English to portray the legendary French fictional detective, based on the novels by Georges Simenon.
As with mysteries, there are also lots of acclaimed straight drama series to stream on BritBox:
- Dickensian – What if a lot of the fictional characters in the novels and stories of Charles Dickens lived in one London neighborhood? That’s the premise of this one-season series.
- MI-5 – This spy thriller series that looks inside the UK’s real spy organization may make you forget all about James Bond — almost.
- Our Girl – This series tells the story of a young female army medic and her experiences in Afghanistan and other hot spots.
Many people in the US consider UK TV comedies to be the best around. Here are just a few of the shows you can laugh with on BritBox:
- Gavin and Stacey – Before he became a US late-night talk show how, James Corden co-created and appears in this sitcom about the romance between the two title characters. You can not only see the three classic season on BritBox, but also the all-new 2019 Christmas special.
- Blackadder – Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis co-created this classic sitcom, with Atkinson playing the anti-hero Edmund Blackadder. He plays basically the same character in all four seasons, even though each season takes place in different historical time periods.
- Fawlty Towers – For some truly classic UK comedy, watch this 1970s series starring John Cleese, the owner of a run down hotel. Some people have called this show the best sitcom ever.
Classic Doctor Who
While the rebooted version of the legendary BBC sci-fi series will materialize its TARDIS soon on HBO Max, BritBox has nearly all of the classic Doctor Who seasons to stream and binge-watch. You can watch almost all of the available seasons of the first seven Doctors. In fact, the service even adds previously missing and restored (with animation) Second Doctor episodes.
That’s not all. You can also stream special shows dedicated to each of the first seven actors to play the space and time-traveling Time Lord. There’s also a docudrama movie, An Adventure in Space and Time, that recounts how the show was first created. Finally, you can watch Dr. Who and The Daleks, and Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150, two feature films based on the first two Doctor Who stories that feature his biggest enemy. Those movies feature Peter Cushing playing a non-canonical version of the character.
One of the biggest draws for BritBox for US and Canada subscribers is that it streams a number of shows hours after they are first shown in the UK. That includes new episodes of the highly popular soap operas EastEnders, Coronation Street, Holby City, Casualty, and Emmerdale. It also includes daily new episodes of the news and talk show program Good Morning Britain.
BritBox is also the home to a number of great documentaries from the UK. It also has some reality shows like the UK edition of Antiques Roadshow. Finally, comedy news shows like Mock the Week and game shows like IQ are also available to stream.
BritBox original shows
So far, BritBox only has one exclusive show on the service. The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco is a spin-off of The Bletchley Circle, centering on women who served as codebreakers in World War II and later use their skills to solve crime after the way. The spin-off follows two of those women from the original series as they move to San Francisco to once again solve crimes. The first season is available and a second season is due to go live in 2020.