PAT PILCHER revels in some Brit TV goodness from a new streaming service, Acorn TV, and likes both the price and the Anglophile content
We live in an age of plenty when it comes to TV shows and movies thanks to Netflix, Amazon, Lightbox, Neon, Prime – and more specialist services like Docplay.
Yet more often than not, there seems to be fuck-all to watch. It’s a first world problem, that we can be so spoiled for choice that most days it feels like there’s almost too much content to choose from.
My specific gripe is that much of the streamed stuff tends to be US-centric. And while I’ve got nothing against a bit of Yankee doodling, I do love me a good Brit drama. Intelligent storytelling and great acting coupled with high production values, means that most UK shows richly reward the viewer.
So, what’s a die-hard Anglophile TV junkie to do? Lightbox helps a bit with its BBC programmes, but a dedicated solution has finally arrived in the form of a service called Acorn TV, which specialises in UK TV programming. (And yes, you’ll also find the odd Canadian, Aussie and Kiwi show). Acorn also has heaps of titles, and like Netflix and Amazon, produces original shows.
Anyone who’s used Netflix should find Acorn TV instantly familiar. Shows can be viewed from a PC, and the Acorn app can be had for many smart TVs/streaming widgets. Android and Android TV compatibility also meant I was able to install the Acorn TV app on the My Vue streaming dongle.
Loads of Brit Content
Setting up an account and firing up Acorn TV revealed loads of Brit content. The latest series of Humans, a sci-fi show set in the near future when we all own Synths (androids not the keyboards used by ‘80s bands) is there. Another favourite, Lovejoy, is also present. It stars Ian McShane (Deadwood) as a dodgy antique dealer with a quick wit and a penchant for finding himself in trouble.
For costume drama fans there are rich pickings too. I, Claudius (based the novels of Robert Graves) stars Derek Jacobi (Last Tango In Halifax) as the Roman Emperor. It’s compulsive binge-viewing fodder, with a stellar cast of top-notch Brit actors including Patrick Stewart and John Rhys-Davies.
Being a bit of a Brit history fan (and a compulsive documentary viewer), I zeroed in on an Acorn original, Churchills, a documentary by the highly regarded historian, David Starkey.
More About The Churchill Bio
The doco goes through what made Britain’s most famous leader tick and looks at his ancestor, John Churchill (the First Duke of Marlborough). Interestingly, Starkey develops the thesis that Winston Churchill, in writing a biography John Churchill gets the insights he needed to steer the UK through WW2 successfully. It makes for excellent viewing.
Acorn TV – Summary
So, is it worth all that and a bag of pork scratchings? If you’re over cliched and predicable US content making up much of Netflix and find Shortland Street braindead (who doesn’t?), you’ll probably like Acorn TV. Considering it costs only $7.99 per month, the odds are good that you’ll get your money’s worth.
* It costs $7.99 per month (a month’s free trial is also available). https://au.acorn.tv/