Fans rage at BBC and ITV over joint streaming service

‘Best’ British TV on demand… but where are the hit shows? Fans rage at BBC and ITV over joint streaming service launched to rival Netflix because it doesn’t include hit shows such as Poldark, Killing Eve, Line of Duty and Strictly

  • BritBox will feature series including Downton Abbey, Wolf Hall and Top Gear
  • But fans signing into the service were left frustrated by some glaring omissions
  • Channel 4 will start adding a host of its own programmes in the coming months
  • BritBox said it would consider adding EastEnders and Coronation Street soaps 

A British TV-streaming service that aims to compete with US giants such as Netflix launched yesterday – but viewers complained that a host of hit shows were missing.

BritBox, a joint online venture led by ITV and the BBC, offers 283 box sets and claims to have a larger UK collection than its rival sites.

At £5.99 a month it is the same price as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. However, those signing in to the ‘best of British’ service for the first time yesterday were left frustrated by some glaring omissions.

The service, which is offering a 30-day free trial, will feature series including Downton Abbey, Wolf Hall, Victoria, Love Island, Top Gear and a range of David Attenborough documentaries 

Line of Duty, Bodyguard, Luther and Call The Midwife are all missing from BritBox – as are Coronation Street and EastEnders, along with reality shows Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor.

Other huge hits notable by their absence include Killing Eve and Poldark.

The Great British Bake Off is missing too, although BritBox said the original BBC series of the show – before it moved to Channel 4 – will be added in the next six months.

One viewer Alex Call wrote on Twitter: ‘Will you be adding older archive stuff? This doesn’t seem to be much more than an upload of the TV section in a standard HMV at the moment. Give me the full archive of EastEnders and you can have my money.’ 

BritBox, a joint online venture led by ITV and the BBC, offers 283 box sets and claims to have a larger UK collection than its rival sites. At £5.99 a month it is the same price as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video [File photo]

Another, Benji Clifford, asked: ‘When are we going to get classic Coronation Street on here?’

The launch comes amid industry pessimism about the chances of BritBox successfully challenging the might of US companies. 

Broadcasters tried to launch a similar service ten years ago but were blocked by competition authorities, leaving the way open for foreign rivals to take advantage.

There have also been complaints that BritBox viewers were being made to pay to watch programmes they had already funded through the TV licence fee.

The service, which is offering a 30-day free trial, will feature series including Downton Abbey, Wolf Hall, Victoria, Love Island, Top Gear and a range of David Attenborough documentaries. 

Some shows such as Broadchurch will only be available to stream on BritBox. Two Midsomer Murders episodes are also premiering on the service before they are shown on TV.

The launch comes amid industry pessimism about the chances of BritBox successfully challenging the might of US companies. Broadcasters tried to launch a similar service ten years ago but were blocked by competition authorities. The service will offer Downton Abbey, above

Channel 4 will start adding a host of its own programmes in the coming months, with Channel 5 already on board. Shows will transfer from the broadcasters’ own catch-up services such as ITV Hub after 30 days.

The BBC, however, has done a deal to move them over after a year. 

Regulator Ofcom has also allowed it to keep a number of programmes exclusively on its iPlayer service. 

Line of Duty, Bodyguard, Luther and Call The Midwife are all missing from BritBox – as are Coronation Street and EastEnders, along with reality shows Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor

BritBox will also feature vintage comedies such as Fawlty Towers and Open All Hours, plus dramas including Prime Suspect and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Films include a range of Carry On and Hitchcock classics, as well as The Ipcress File and Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet. 

Some comedies of yesteryear such as Love Thy Neighbour and Till Death Us Do Part will not be included because they are deemed too racist for modern audiences.

BritBox said it would consider adding the likes of EastEnders and Coronation Street. 

The launch comes as more major US players enter the crowded streaming market. Apple TV+ launched days ago at £4.99 a month and Disney+ is due to launch soon. 

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