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  • BritBox: Till Death Us Do Part excluded

    BritBox: why there is no place for Till Death Us Do Part or Love Thy Neighbour


    Tony Booth, Una Stubbs, Dandy Nichols, and Warren Mitchell on the set of the BBC comedy Till Death Us Do Part in 1966
    CREDIT: PA
    TELEGRAPH - 8 NOVEMBER 2019 • 6:37AM

    It is the streaming service that promises classic BBC and ITV shows from decades past, offering viewers a chance to wallow in nostalgia.

    But anyone hoping to re-watch Till Death Us Do Part or Love Thy Neighbour will not find them on Britbox. Their politically incorrect subject matter has been deemed inappropriate for modern audiences.

    Reemah Sakaan, the ITV executive responsible for launching the subscription service, was asked yesterday about the omission of the two programmes from the comedy archive.

    She said “changing tastes” had been taken into account. While some shows will carry “bespoke warnings” about potentially offensive content, the two sitcoms in question were deemed too offensive for inclusion at all.

    Explaining the compliance process for determining which shows will be carried by BritBox, Ms Sakaan said: “We re-comply everythng that goes on to BritBox, and the great thing about on-demand is that you’re not forcing anyone to watch anything.”

    Till Death Us Do Part ran on the BBC from 1965-1975 and starred Warren Mitchell as the bigoted Alf Garnett. Love Thy Neighbour was an ITV show, broadcast from 1972-76, about the relationship between a white couple and a black couple who lived next door to one another.

    Both shows have been accused of racism. Johnny Speight, creator of Till Death Us Do Part, maintained that he wanted audiences to laugh at Garnett, not with him, but that was not always the case.

    BritBox is billed as “the biggest collection of British content available on any streaming service” and launched yesterday with a 30-day free trial followed by a subscription fee of £5.99 per month.

    It includes shows from the BBC, ITV and Channel 5, with Channel 4 joining the service next month.

    Classic comedies which can be found on BritBox include Only Fools and Horses, One Foot in the Grave, Absolutely Fabulous and Yes, Minister, while dramas include Downton Abbey, Prime Suspect, and famous adaptations Pride and Prejudice, Brideshead Revisited and The Jewel in the Crown.

    However, many BBC shows are missing because they are licenced to rival broadcasters. There is no Bodyguard, Line of Duty, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Alan Partridge or most of the landmark shows of Sir David Attenborough, as they can be found on Netflix or elsewhere.

    Dennis Potter plays The Singing Detective, Pennies from Heaven and Blue Remembered Hills, regarded as some of the corporation’s finest dramas, are not there. Nor are vintage comedy series Dad’s Army, Hancock’s Half Hour, Steptoe and Son or The Morecambe and Wise Show.

    Those excited at the prospect of watching every series of Doctor Who from 1963 to its cancellation in 1989 will have to wait until Boxing Day, when they will be added to the line-up.

    Anyone hoping to browse BritBox’s contents before deciding whether or not to sign up will find it impossible to do so - access to the website is denied unless users provide credit card details and sign up for a monthly subscription.

    There are plans to commission original programmes that can only be viewed on BritBox.
    Last edited by Maurice; 10th November 2019, 12:05 PM.

  • #2
    Britain makes some of the best TV in the world – why is BritBox such a botch job? TELEGRAPH - 7 NOVEMBER 2019


    A plucky new challenger: BritBox

    The TV streaming revolution has, so far, been dominated by US giants. Netflix, Amazon and Apple have deep, dollar-stuffed pockets and their influence is global. Now the UK has entered the market with Britbox. Compared to the heavily hyped Apple TV+ which launched last week, its arrival felt modest. So can this plucky new challenger be a serious contender, beating the flashy Americans at their own game?

    BritBox was founded as a joint venture between ITV and the BBC as a way to cash in on their bulging back catalogues and get a toehold in the paid streaming market. Channel 5 later came on-board. When Channel 4 finally joined this week, it meant that content from all the main UK broadcasters would be available through a single platform for the first time.

    Certainly, scrolling through the content, there is plenty to like and lots to flat-out love: period dramas such as Pride and Prejudice, Brideshead Revisited and not one but three adaptations of Jane Eyre (reader, I binged them); classic crime series such as Morse, Marple, Poirot, Prime Suspect and Cracker; sitcom favourites including Fawlty Towers, Only Fools & Horses and The Vicar of Dibley.

    In the mood for a nostalgic David Attenborough or Michael Palin series? How about Jewel In The Crown, Boys From The Blackstuff or the original House Of Cards? Fancy snuggling up in front of classic British films, from Hitchcock to Carry On? Simply fire up BritBox and enjoy.

    The BritBox name might sound parochial (and the logo looks like it was botched together by an intern with Letraset) but such shows transcend borders. We make some of the best telly in the world, so to many - both inside and outside the UK - Britishness is a selling point and a source of pride. BritBox boasts it is the “biggest
    collection of British box sets in one place".


    BritBox offerings will please older audiences
    Priced at £5.99 per month for HD, multi-screen viewing, it’s comparable in price to its streaming rivals, with a free 30-day trial period. With such an illustrious archive, we’ve been crying out for a vintage streaming service in this country and BritBox ought to fit the bill.

    However, teething troubles clearly abound, so it needs to get its act together fast. The rushed launch means there simply isn’t enough on there to make it feel like full value for money. As with any streaming service, there’s lots of filler (Celebrity Five Go Caravanning, anyone?). The Channel 4 fare won’t arrive until spring, with Film4 content added later next year.

    The archive situation is particularly problematic. It hasn’t mined sufficient gems from the deep vaults of TV history (which may be due, in part, to the murky issue of copyright).

    Sci-fi fans were abuzz at the prospect of Britbox holding all of the surviving episodes of the original Doctor Who for the first time on any streaming service, including the original 1963 pilot and animated recreations of missing instalments. However, it now transpires they’ll have to wait until Boxing Day.

    BritBox can’t currently be used with Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire Stick devices, which seems daft. There’s no option to download and watch offline either, with plans to introduce this in 2020. It all smacks of a scramble to launch and an unspoken strategy to fix problems on the fly.

    There’s also, of course, the thorny issue of the licence fee. Viewers might, understandably, resent paying twice for BBC programmes that they’ve already funded. New shows will still stay on the iPlayer for a time, but it is difficult not to feel hard done by.


    Jodie Comer in Killing Eve

    Some recent BBC hits, such as Killing Eve and Bodyguard, aren’t on BritBox because they already have existing streaming deals in place. Conversely, other content - including Wolf Hall and the seven BBC series of The Great British Bake Off - will be exclusive to BritBox and unavailable anywhere else. Other archive shows that are currently on Netflix or Amazon will “come back home” to BritBox as deals are struck and contracts expire. It’s all about as clear as a moody drama with muffled sound.

    Ultimately, there is a niggling feeling that us Britons are not getting a fair deal in the streaming wars. We’re somehow expected to shell out for endless new platforms on top of the licence fee and when you compare us to the US, it feels like we are forever playing catch up. Bafflingly, BritBox launched in the US two years ago and already has 650,000 subscribers there. Disney Plus launches next week in most countries but we still don’t know when we’re getting it. Meanwhile, HBO Max, home to much of America’s prestige programming, is an impossibility due to the channel’s ongoing deal with Sky.

    BritBox might have potential but the streaming market needs to settle down and companies need to talk to each other, before it has any chance of being a success.

    britbox.co.uk
    Last edited by Maurice; 10th November 2019, 12:19 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      I would not touch Britbox with a barge pole. I pay my TV licence and for what? I would love to see things from deep in the archives like all the good dramas, not costume dramas either. I’d like to see all the plays etc. Quality stuff. Not endless re runs of Dads Army etc. Love thy neighbour not being there I can understand a little but where do you draw the line? As for Til Death, this is a terrible decision to exclude this. The programme was surely made to make Alf look like the bigot he was. And as a real Dandy fan her lines where classic put downs. Let’s start looking at all programmes made by the BBC and if we look at what was acceptable when it was made and what is now there would be little to watch.

      i would rather have a proper BBC showing the stuff not paying again. The BBC really don’t have a clue.




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      • #4
        BBC Store had Til Death Us Do Part and It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. We had a little bit of blurb about them being products of their time and all that, but they still were significant pieces of tv. I suspect this story has been somewhat sharpened up compared to the actual reality that not everything can be on there.

        What’s more exasperating is that people still don’t seem to be able to grasp that the BBC do not own the rights to these shows, releasing them means paying the creators again. This dreary “I’ve already paid my license fee” reaction is exhausting.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Maurice View Post
          Classic comedies which can be found on BritBox include Only Fools and Horses, One Foot in the Grave, Absolutely Fabulous and Yes, Minister......
          ........The sort of shows that are repeated endlessly on UK Gold.

          I understand the controversy surrounding shows like Love Thy Neighbour, but the BBC claiming they were a product of their time as an excuse not to show them seems a weak argument to me, and see no reason why they can't be shown on a subscription service. Love Thy Neighbour used to be shown on the old Sky analogue platform when it had a channel called Granada+ which broadcast mainly old ITV shows.

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          • #6
            This is a good example of why I would never get rid of physical media in favour of streaming. You are at the mercy of people deciding what you should be allowed to watch based on current sensibilities/political correctness.

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            • #7
              Typical BBC PC attitude..

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              • #8
                Here in Canada, we don’t have BritBox, we have the retro channel, which televise a lot of the older programs, aired, years ago. It’s a specialty channel, which cost money to have. I think they have a similar channel in the U.S. I have the basic package that gets several Canadian stations, two New York stations, and several sports stations, and one PBS station, which televised some of the British programs.

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                • #9
                  If Talking Pictures show a film or series episode from the late 50's or early 60's that may cause upset they usually issue a warning beforehand along the lines of the fact that the programme may contain language that reflected the time that it was made. The Edgar Wallace and Gideon series normally show this kind of warning.

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                  • #10
                    I understand the controversy surrounding shows like Love Thy Neighbour, but the BBC claiming they were a product of their time as an excuse not to show them seems a weak argument to me, and see no reason why they can't be shown on a subscription service. Love Thy Neighbour used to be shown on the old Sky analogue platform when it had a channel called Granada+ which broadcast mainly old ITV shows.
                    I remember a BBC blog from about ten years ago, where a senior BBC figure, perhaps BBC1 Controller or Head of Light Entertainment, which explained that there was simply no way that the BBC could really show Till Death To Us Part even then - the language used would not be acceptable to Ofcom, etc. Hence the reason why Britbox wont be showing it. It can be labeled as 'PC', etc, but its not an unreasonable decision, and its ultimately a commercial one. In Sickness and in Health was made later Again, the same applies to Love Thy Neighbour - I remember it at the time being somewhat cringworthy, and now it would simply be fairly dire. Again, why show stuff that gets flak and isnt of that much interest to your market. People might as well asked why the Black and White Minstral show is on.....

                    As for Britbox itself, the broadcasters wanted to do it a decade ago, but the regulators said no! Now, its a much tougher market. Its seemingly been pretty successful in the States, where if you want to watch UK content, you have PBS, BBC America (which is a commerical channel. and inlcudes material from C4 and ITV), Britbox, or co productions. For the UK, you can argue that there is a lot of content which C4, ITV and the BBC cannot really provide cost effectively on normal catchup.

                    Its also a way of cutting out the middleman - aside from coproductions like Good Omens or His Dark Materials, if Netflix can show old BBC shows, why not the broadcasters themselves? Disney has essentially done the same thing with its content., and I can see the likes of Universal etc doing much the same thing. But Netflix etc have the streaming rights to a lot of stuff at the moment, and its content rights which is so complex and problematic. Britbox, like BBC America, might be making original content, which will be interesting.

                    Yeah, you pay your licence fee, but its not logical to expect everything the BBC has ever made to be on Iplayer - its simply not possible, and of course new content is what most of use want to watch first, as well as Dads Army. Same goes for C4 and ITV - they make us sign up for the content on their streaming services and shows adverts as well, but they have a lot of content that they can show, and perhaps make more money out of it as well.

                    The execution of the idea looks less than ideal so far. If your app isnt available on Firesticks or Chromecast from launch then you have a problem - thats how I access streaming content and I am far from alone. It looks a bit of a kluge, but will hopefully improve. For me, I have loads of stuff to watch on Iplayer (catching up on The Name of the Rose right now), plus Prime (2nd Season of Jack Ryan, and havnt even got halfway through Man in the High Castle yet), so Britbox isnt for us yet, but who knows.

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                    • #11
                      The BBC wouldn't release TILL DEATH US DO PART on DVD, but licensed Network to do so, so kept their conscience clean and their wallet full.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Maurice View Post
                        [B]

                        Classic comedies which can be found on BritBox include Only Fools and Horses, One Foot in the Grave, Absolutely Fabulous and Yes, Minister, while dramas include Downton Abbey, Prime Suspect, and famous adaptations Pride and Prejudice, Brideshead Revisited and The Jewel in the Crown.

                        However, many BBC shows are missing because they are licenced to rival broadcasters. There is no Bodyguard, Line of Duty, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Alan Partridge or most of the landmark shows of Sir David Attenborough, as they can be found on Netflix or elsewhere.

                        .
                        The BBC license out Only Fools and HorsestoNetflix and yet some of the episodes are still censored on there because there are considered to be racist ,When the BBC released the whole set of Only Fools and Horses DVDs they were censored as well and yet some are not censored but should have been when released Netflix has one episode in which the word "P**i" is said (which refers to a corner shop run by Pakistani's) and yet on other channels like Gold (co owned by the BBC ) this is censored!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.


                        Most of the 1970s' output would still be classed as non PC series such as Are You Being Served and Allo Allo and yet these are broacasted in primetime slots so go figure.


                        Originally posted by Odeonman View Post
                        This is a good example of why I would never get rid of physical media in favour of streaming. You are at the mercy of people deciding what you should be allowed to watch based on current sensibilities/political correctness.



                        I am just glad that I kept my old tapes and DVDrs so I do not need to watch the censored stuff anymore.














                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Decent article by Richard Littlejohn in today's Daily Mail about this very subject.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by cassidy View Post
                            Decent article by Richard Littlejohn in today's Daily Mail
                            Isn't that self-contradictory, calling any article by Littlejohn, especially in the Daily Hate Mail, a "decent" article?

                            Steve

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