Monday, April 17, 2017

Do You ♥ British TV?

I know that many of you, like me, enjoy watching British television. While we can see several wonderful British programs through our PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) station, there are still many good ones that we have to resort to other methods to be able to watch. Sometimes our libraries will have a few on DVD that we can borrow, but often instant streaming yields the biggest rewards.

The first instant streaming company for many of us was Netflix, and you can find some British television programs and movies there like The Crown. Whenever Denis and I have gone to the UK, I try to overdose as much as I possibly can on some of their lifestyle programs, and I was absolutely thrilled when I learned that Netflix recently added a season of my favorite, Escape to the Country

Each episode deals with a couple who wants to sell their home in the city and buy a house out in the country. The entire series is worth watching for the scenery alone, but you also get to see some quirky British architecture because so many of the couples want to live in those "chocolate box" thatched cottages. (Not me. I don't want to stoop to walk through the doorway or remember to duck so I won't brain myself on one of those lovely beams.) If you've got Netflix, love gorgeous scenery and wonderful old houses, I hope you give this series a try while you're looking for other British imports.

As far as I'm concerned, Acorn TV, which bills itself as "chief curator of the best British TV," is the second best streaming channel for British television. It has programs like Midsomer Murders and the Geraldine McEwan and Julia McKenzie versions of Miss Marple, but what I enjoy most about this particular channel is that you can see Canadian, Irish, and Australian crime series as well as something like The Brokenwood Mysteries which films in New Zealand. I really enjoy mysteries from other parts of the world, and Acorn has even helped me with some words I've unknowingly been mispronouncing for years.

If you'd asked me a couple of months ago which streaming channel was the best for British television, I would've told you to add Acorn TV to your lineup of channels on Roku. But... there's a new kid in town, and I've fallen in love.

The BBC and ITV have joined forces to create Britbox TV, probably the ultimate channel for ex-pats and other lovers of British television. It's a bit pricier than, say, Acorn at $6.99 per month, but I don't care. Lovers of the British soaps Emmerdale and EastEnders will be thrilled that the latest episodes across the pond are updated on Britbox within twenty-four hours. But there's more!

Are you a Whovian? Britbox recently added the classic episodes of Doctor Who. There are cooking programs, comedies like Blackadder and A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Red Dwarf, Fawlty Towers, Absolutely Fabulous, and Are You Being Served? Real estate programs. Documentaries. Period dramas like the original Mapp and Lucia. I could go on and on. But you know what I prefer to watch while I'm knitting in the evenings: mysteries and crime dramas. Britbox's lineup of this genre is what made me go for the free trial and then sign up.

Want to watch Joan Hickson as Miss Marple? Britbox has all the episodes. As much as I enjoy Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes, I've always thought Jeremy Brett the best at portraying the world's greatest detective. Britbox has Brett. Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect. Silent Witness, Scott & Bailey, Poirot, Cadfael, Rosemary and Thyme, Dalziel and Pascoe, Inspector Morse... once again, I could go on and on. They're always adding new goodies, so firing up Roku and selecting Britbox is a bit like Christmas every evening.

If you love British television like I do, try Britbox's 7-day free trial. You'll see what I mean!




  1. I agree, Cathy, about both Netflix and Acorn. I'll admit, I've not (yet) tried Britbox. But, honestly, I love Joan Hickson as Miss Marple. Must try that out!

  2. I love Acorn and looked at the Britbox, but they don't have enough to tempt me yet.

    1. It wouldn't hurt to check back from time to time because they're adding programming all the time.

  3. I love British TV mysteries and I get some of them through the library or Netflix. I do look at Acorn longingly sometimes, but I have too much to watch and see to add more.


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