UK streaming service BritBox launches with Channel 4 deal

By Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

UK streaming service BritBox has launched and struck a deal with Channel 4.

The BBC and ITV announced BritBox, which they hope will counter the dominance of US giants, earlier this year.

Now they have said Channel 4 as well as Channel 5 are on board the service, costing £5.99 a month.

BritBox has signed a deal with Channel 4 for British TV box sets from on-demand channel All 4 and British films from Film4.

Doctor Who (BBC/PA)

BritBox is billed as “the biggest collection of British box sets available in one place”, from classic programmes to newer shows.

Doctor Who fans will find 627 episodes of the classic, originally broadcast between 1963 and 1989, available to stream from Boxing Day.

Full box sets include all the series and specials of Downton Abbey, Broadchurch, seven series of Only Fools And Horses, three series of Gavin & Stacey and both series of Extras.

BritBox will be the home of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Poirot, and Love Island fans will be able to rewatch the previous series.

Downton Abbey (ITV/PA)

BBC exclusives will include The Great British Bake Off – from before it went to Channel 4 – Les Miserables and The Split.

Shows like The Office, Happy Valley and Doctor Foster will also become available.

The launch comes after global giants such as Netflix and Amazon made their mark on British homes.

It comes 10 years after the Competition Commission vetoed a similar joint service, saying British viewers value UK programmes and “do not regard other content as a good substitute”.

More BBC and ITV shows will appear on the service as licence agreements with streaming services like Netflix expire.

BritBox said the Channel 4 and Film4 deal will start in 2020.

The broadcaster’s chief executive Alex Mahon said: “Channel 4 has always showcased distinctive and diverse British content and, in a world of almost unlimited choice, our public service brand values are more important than ever for viewers.

“The opportunity to collaborate as PSBs (public service broadcasters) on BritBox extends our track record of partnership and will ensure there is a compelling single destination for the very best high-quality, home-grown content.”

The service will include factual programmes presented by the likes of Sir David Attenborough, Professor Brian Cox, Michael Palin, Sue Perkins and Romesh Ranganathan, and also classic films.

BritBox has partnered with BT on products that feature access to BritBox and with EE as its mobile partner.