The streaming service boasts an impressive line-up of British television to choose from.
BritBox has stolen our hearts during lockdown, with the relatively new streaming service providing a healthy dose of nostalgia and a mix of comedies and serious dramas.
The streamer is a collaborative effort between the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, and it brings together the best content from those broadcasters for the price of £5.99/month.
Shows available to watch as boxsets include the likes of Downton Abbey, Midsomer Murders, Gavin & Stacey, Wolf Hall, and The Vicar of Dibley, with more shows set to join their ranks on the platform.
Read on for the best BritBox television picks from the RadioTimes.com staff, from Love Island to Miss Marple.
The Vicar of Dibley
This sinfully funny sitcom was one of our top Lockdown Binges earlier in the year, and with good reason – Dawn French answers all our prayers as Geraldine Granger, a left-leaning vicar and bonne vivante who rocks up to the sleepy village of Dibley and turns it upside down.
The series first aired back in the mid-90s when female vicars were still a novelty, but new viewers will find that the show still provides laughs aplenty, alongside sneaking in some still-prescient messages about sexism and body positivity.
The popular film “Shakespeare in Love” seemed to unleash a wave of fictional imaginings of the English writer: the plays “Equivocation” and “The Beard of Avon,” the films “Anonymous” and “All Is True,” the short-lived TV series “Will.” But 1999’s frothy Best Picture winner was hardly the first rendering of Shakespeare as a fictional character.
The Bard of Avon made periodic appearances in novels throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, from a trilogy by Robert Folkestone Williams in the 1840s to Anthony Burgess’s 1964 book Nothing Like the Sun. And his first recorded stage appearance as a character is from 1679, some 60 years after the playwright’s death, when “the Ghost of Shakespeare” emerged to give a prologue to Thomas Dryden’s version of “Troilus and Cressida.”
There is nothing ghostly about the Shakespeare we meet in “Upstart Crow,” a delightfully cheeky BBC sitcom comprising three short seasons, available in the United States through the on-demand service Britbox as well as via Amazon. As played by the acerbic David Mitchell, one half of the comedy duo Mitchell and Webb, this Will Shakespeare is a mildly schlubby and insecure if well-intentioned striver, dividing his time between a bustling family hearth in Stratford and a rooming house in London from which he is building his playwriting career. The show’s title comes from an epithet hurled at Shakespeare in 1592 by a jealous poet, Robert Greene, in a pamphlet.
A fictional Greene is on hand as the show’s mustache-twirling villain to pound home the familiar theme of Shakespeare’s low birth and insufficiently fancy education. In a typical pithy putdown, he dismisses Shakespeare as “a country bum-snot, an oik of Avon, a town-school spotty-grotty.” The show’s Greene also functions as a literal nemesis, positioned (ahistorically) as the Master of the Revels, the impresario and censor through whom all staged entertainment must pass muster [ . . . ]