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Archive for the ‘Jane Austen’ Category

The BBC and ITV have teamed up to start a new streaming service, BritBox, according to Variety.

For us Anglophiles stuck here in the U.S. this is good news!  Many of us have been able to watch some British TV through, say, Netflix (hello, Midsomer Murders!) or if PBS decides to collaborate with or piggyback onto the BBC’s content, but have been frustrated that we’re unable to get ahold of some shows that are up online in the U.K. but are blocked for us viewers here in the States.

Enter BritBox, which brings a mixture of classic and current television.  Old favorites such as Blackadder, Fawlty Towers and The Office are available now, as are back episodes of current shows such as EastEnders and Casualty.  New episodes of those are loaded up the day after they air in the U.K.

If you like detective stories and mysteries, there’s Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes, Helen Mirren’s Prime Suspect, Joan Hickson as Miss Marple and Rosemary and Thyme, among others.

Bleak House, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and Upstairs, Downstairs (both the original 1971 version and the 2010 remake) are part of the historical drama contingent.

Right now the offerings are a little thin, but I would imagine that’s due to the BBC and ITV wanting to see if this takes off before adding more.  I would love to see Coupling on here, maybe Graham Norton, and possibly some game shows.

The service starts with a 7-day free trial and is $6.99 monthly thereafter.  To sign up go to BritBox.com.

#BritBox #BritishTelevision

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BBC Radio 4’s hilarious comedy Cabin Pressure had its final episode in January, and while all us fans are sad that it’s over, we can revisit MJN Air, GERTI and the crew over and over again now that they’re giving us a box set!

The show revolves around a one-jet airline and the places they fly to, or as the BBC synopsis says, it’s a “sitcom about an airline for whom no job is too small but many, many jobs are too difficult.”CabinPressure_boxset

The show stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Captain Martin Crieff, Roger Allam as First Officer Douglas Richardson, Stephanie Cole as MJN’s owner Carolyn Knapp-Shappey, and John Finnemore as Carolyn’s son Arthur.  Finnemore also wrote the series.  There were some great guest stars, and several episodes featured Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Carolyn’s boyfriend.

All the episodes from A-Z (Abu Dhabi to Zurich) will be included, along with the Christmas special and several bonus features, including a 32-page booklet.  The bonus features are described here on Finnemore’s website.  My favorite episode, btw, is Ipswich.

The set will be released in the U.S. in April but it just became available in the U.K.  If you want to preorder the link for Amazon.com is here, and the link to buy it now on Amazon.co.uk is here.  Or if you live in the U.S. you could just order it from the U.K. site.  It will take a while to get here, but I’m sure it would make it before April!  And yes, if you want to download it instead of dealing with physical CD’s, you can do that, but I doubt the the booklet and special features would be available to download, so be careful what you’re buying if those are important to you.

You might wonder why Cumberbatch was on a radio show, but in fact he has done quite a bit of radio, as well as recording audiobooks.  While I was looking on Amazon I discovered that he has recorded a series of mysteries called Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Thrilling Stories of the Railway that was released last year.  These are written by Victor L. Whitechurch.  Previously Benedict read a series called Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories, which were written by John Taylor.  If you poke around you’ll find Benedict recordings out there for everything from the audiobook to Casanova to Jane Austen.

Be aware, though, that Benedict loves doing voices, so he usually doesn’t just read the material in his own, but creates different voices for each character.  Some people like that, and some don’t.  Just FYI.

#BenedictCumberbatch #CabinPressure

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