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BBC and ITV’s BritBox Launches With ‘Fawlty Towers,’ ‘Prime Suspect,’ ‘Absolutely Fabulous’

BritBox, the streaming child of British media giants BBC Worldwide and ITV, has officially launched stateside.

For $6.99 a month, Americans get access to a plethora of past BBC and ITV-produced series — but the service will also be home to various fresh episodes of British soaps and dramas as little as 24 hours after their U.K. broadcast, including “EastEnders,” “Emmerdale,” “Holby City,” and “Casualty,” to start with. BritBox will feature the U.S. series premiere of dramas “New Blood,” from writer Anthony Horowitz, and “Tutankhamun” from writer Guy Burt, as well as the season premieres of drama favorites “Cold Feet” and “Silent Witness.”

Classic British comedies “Are You Being Served?,” “Fawlty Towers,” and the previously announced “Keeping Up Appearances” are exclusives to BritBox. “Blackadder” with Rowan Atkinson, the original version of “The Office” with Ricky Gervais, “Gavin & Stacey” with James Corden, and cult darling “Absolutely Fabulous” with Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders, will also be available.

On the mystery side, BritBox will have the exclusive rights to BBC’s “Miss Marple” starring Joan Hickson, “Inspector Morse” with John Thaw, and “Sherlock Holmes” starring Jeremy Brett. Other titles include Helen Mirren’s “Prime Suspect,” Agatha Christie’s “Poirot: The Early Cases” starring David Suchet, “Cracker” with “Harry Potter” star Robbie Coltrane, “Rosemary and Thyme” with Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris, and the premiere of “The Moonstone,” based on Wilkie Collins’s beloved novel.

The service will also have curated playlists like “Very British Beginnings,” which digs up old episodes that feature massive British stars like Daniel Craig and Emily Blunt.

BBC Worldwide and ITV decided to join forces for their American streaming service in December, with AMC Networks — already a partner with BBC Worldwide through its 49.9% ownership in BBC America — taking a minority stake. BritBox will theoretically compete with RLJ Entertainment’s Acorn TV SVOD service, which since 2011 has offered a fairly wide array of British series like “Poirot” for the price of $4.99 a month, or $49.99 for a year. In October, AMC Networks invested $65 million in RLJ Entertainment.

BritBox launches Tuesday on on responsive web, AppleTV, iPhone, iPad, and Android mobile phones and tablets, and will be available on Roku and Chromecast shortly after launch. And yes, BritBox does have the 1995 “Pride and Prejudice” with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.

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