The BBC and ITV will bring a staple of the British holiday season to the U.S. with an exclusive transmission of Queen Elizabeth II’s annual Christmas Day speech. “The Queen’s Christmas Message” will go out on the Britbox “best of British” streaming service run by BBC Worldwide and ITV, alongside several other U.K. Christmas-themed titles.
The SVOD service also has exclusive U.S. streaming rights to “Dickensian,” the BBC One takeoff that brings together characters from different Charles Dickens novels, with Inspector Bucket from “Bleak House” investigating the murder of Jacob Marley from “A Christmas Carol.” The show is part of a larger Dickens holiday strand that features TV adaptations of “A Christmas Carol” and “Great Expectations.”
“U.K. television has a rich tradition of celebrating the holidays in a big way, “ said BritBox President Soumya Sriraman. “We have the largest offering of British premieres, near simulcast, and classic British holiday specials anywhere in the U.S.”
Other titles in BritBox’s “BritMas” lineup include the holiday specials of “Eastenders” and “Coronation Street,” the two biggest soaps in the U.K. There will also be seasonal episodes of British TV classics including “The Office,” “Absolutely Fabulous,” and “Blackadder,” as well as Agatha Christie series “Poirot” and “Miss Marple.”
BritBox launched last year and is currently only available in the U.S. The BBC and ITV have said they plan further international launches of the SVOD service. No subscriber numbers have been released. It is not the only British-skewed service in the U.S.; Acorn also offers Anglo-centric fare.