If you’re a fan of historical costume TV, you probably love British dramas. It’s a simple fact that the BBC and ITV have cranked out more high-quality historical series than anyone else ever. Name a favorite frock flick, old or new, and it’s British — Elizabeth R (1971) to Pride and Prejudice (1995) to Downton Abbey (2011-2016), just to name a few. Well, my dream TV channel would be to gather up all these British shows in one place and stream them endlessly. And finally, I got it. The channel is called BritBox!
At first, BritBox launched in March 2017 as a standalone service that you could receive via tools like Roku and certain smart TVs and IDK magic or something. I’ve worked in Silicon Valley all my adult life, but certain tech stuff is still beyond me, and it’s too hard to hook up my computer to my TV, whatever, kids these days. Finally, in August, BritBox became available as a channel through Amazon Video, so I could easily add it to my subscriptions and watch it through anything, my TiVo boxes or my computer or plug it straight into my brain, apparently, thanks Jeff Bezos.
You might have noticed that all of us here at Frock Flicks HQ have been drinking deep of the BritBox goodness. At least two of us are hardcore Anglophiles (we’re not so sure about Kendra, what with her French obsession, but we’ll let it slide), and we all were raised right on British costume drama. So we’ve been indulging in re-watches of some old faves, from Cadfael (1994-8) to The Last King (2003) to Upstairs, Downstairs (1971-5). You can bet there will be more reviews of classics like these!
BritBox is chock full of wonderful historical costume TV, such as the 18th-century bling of Aristocrats (1999), 1930s comedy with Mapp & Lucia (1985-6), Aidan Turner gone artsy in Desperate Romantics (2009), and the influential Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970). Recent shows that never aired in the U.S. can even be found, like the Shakespeare comedy Upstart Crow (2016). Plus there are old faves such as all four seasons of BlackAdder (1982-9), Jeremy Brett-era Sherlock Holmes (1984-1994), and the complete series of Sean Bean getting Napoleonic in Sharpe (1993-2008). This seems to be where the BBC- and ITV-produced TV archives will be available for streaming from now on, once existing contracts run out with Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.
For geeky anglophiles like moi, BritBox is already the exclusive home of all the 1963-1989 episodes of Doctor Who, plus it shows old and new Red Dwarf (I didn’t know there was a new season until I saw it on BritBox!). Speaking of new shows, this channel also premieres a bunch of current British shows about 24 hours after they’ve first aired in the U.K., mostly soap operas and reality TV so far, but who knows what will turn up next.
Does this sound like a paid advertisement? HAH. I wish. You, dear readers, are the only ones who pay us for anything! We love your support, we really do! It goes straight back into our ridiculous server costs, and maybe someday, it’ll offset the $6.99 per month each one us pays for BritBox. But honestly, I love the channel so much, I don’t mind paying it right now. That’s why I’m gushing here and recommending you pay for it too. If you love these British shows, you’ll love having them at your fingertips at any hour as much as I do.
Let us know if you’re a BritBox subscriber too!