March into autumn with these BritBox highlights


THE chilling real-life drama of the nerve agent attack that terrorised the UK in 2018 takes centre stage on BritBox this March in The Salisbury Poisonings, with the Northern Ireland-set police series Hope Street adding extra heft to the month’s line-up of new and exclusive titles.

The still-raw events of the Novichok chemical agent attacks are dramatised in The Salisbury Poisonings (pictured above and below), which deals with the trauma experienced by the victims but is also a story of people coming together in remarkable ways, finding strength in family and community. See it first, exclusively on BritBox, from March 3.

This critically acclaimed four-part factual drama examines what happened not just to the victims, but also to the ordinary residents of Salisbury. Their lives were changed forever, yet they showed a quiet heroism to overcome the horror of the poisonings. The cast includes Anne-Marie Duff (Shameless, His Dark Materials, Sex Education), MyAnna Buring (Downton Abbey, Ripper Street, The Witcher) and Rafe Spall (Life of Pi, The War of the Worlds).

New BritBox Original Hope Street stars Amara Karan as the first Muslim police officer in the fictional town of Port Devine on the picturesque Northern Ireland coast, with each episode featuring a self-contained crime story, from March 24.

Filmed on location in Northern Ireland and set in the fictional town of Port Devine, this series arrives express from the UK and opens with the mysterious arrival of Detective Constable Leila Hussain, played by Karan (The Night Of, The Darjeeling Limited, Goodness Gracious Me). What brings an ambitious big-city girl to a sleepy seaside police station?

With each of the 10 episodes featuring its own self-contained crime investigation, the series also follows the police officers as they deal with everyday issues in the beautiful coastal town.

Suspense fans will love the mini-series The Sister (March 31)a psychological thriller from Neil Cross, the creator of Luther, featuring Russell Tovey (Being Human, Years and Years) as a married man whose life is turned upside down when a face from the past turns up on his doorstep with shocking news.

Packed with murder, intrigue, deception, haunted houses, dark forests and ghostly apparitions, Tovey stars as a well-meaning man with a terrible secret who is (possibly literally) haunted by the mistakes of his past.

Besides these new titles, BritBox is also adding some highly bingeable box sets to its content mix with the Victorian-era mini-series The Crimson Petal and the White (March 10), three seasons of popular crimes series New Tricks (March 17), plus a treat for railway enthusiasts and travel junkies – a trip along the UK’s most scenic train routes with one of Britain’s most cherished actresses in Coastal Railways with Julie Walters (March 31).

Romola Garai, who can also be seen on BritBox playing the title role in Jane Austen’s Emma, was nominated for a BAFTA for her outstanding performance in period drama The Crimson Petal and the Whiteset in 1870s London. She stars as a young prostitute who stands on the cusp of power and elevated social status after becoming the mistress of the heir to a perfume business (Chris O’Dowd – The IT Crowd, Bridesmaids). The four-part series’ supporting cast includies eSwatini-born, South Africa-educated actor Richard E Grant (Withnail and I, Gosford Park), and Gillian Anderson (The X Files, The Crown).

Based on the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, popular police series from the early 2000s New Tricks focuses on the work of the Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad, a fictional division within London’s Metropolitan Police Service tasked with re-investigating unsolved crimes. 

What’s different about it? Well, this police unit is made up of “old dogs” – an eccentric bunch of retired detectives. Each episode features a different investigation, with Dennis Waterman (The Sweeney, Minder) anchoring the evolving ensemble cast that includes Amanda Redman and Alun Armstrong.

In Coastal Railways with Julie Walters, the actress from Educating Rita, Billy Elliot, the Harry Potter movies, will whisk you away on a number of exhilarating trips along the British coastline, experiencing the beautiful landscapes and meeting some locals along the way. Travel with her along Scotland’s West Highland Railway, the East Coast Main Line from Newcastle to Edinburgh, the Great Western Main Line from London to Bristol, and from Aberystwyth in Wales to Liverpool.

The BritBox app is available on Android TV, including enabled Smart TVs, Google Chromecast with GoogleTV, Nvidia Shield, MiBox and MiStick, plus Android and Apple mobile/tablets, FireTV, Samsung Smart TV and LG Smart TV. Enjoy one week’s free trial, sign up at R99.99 per month or R999.99 for 12 months, and register for email updates here.

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