I’ve long been an admirer of acclaimed TV writer Jimmy McGovern, and this new BritBox three-part prison drama has all of his trademarks: a northern England setting, complex characters, gritty realism and harrowing scenes that are almost too hard to watch - but at the same time too brilliant to miss.
Time is the story of prisoner Mark Cobden (played by Sean Bean). Cobden, a gentle, well-educated man is behind bars for a drunk-driving fatality, heart wrenchingly out of his depth and desperately fighting for survival in a brutal environment. Stephen Graham (Line of Duty) plays conflicted prison officer Eric McNally, striving to treat inmates with decency and respect but also struggling to survive in a world of intimidation, threats and corruption.
The supporting cast includes Siobhan Finneran, Sue Johnstone and Graham's real-life wife (Hannah Walters) playing his on-screen wife too. While all the acting is superb, Bean and Graham who've both worked with McGovern many times before, are absolutely outstanding.
As you would expect from a prison drama, there are violent, disturbing scenes, emotional themes and devastating events throughout. Undoubtedly gripping but certainly not easy viewing, this is brilliantly bleak, traumatic telly at its very best.
Time will lock you in and throw away the key. But only if you can bear to watch.
Time - all episodes streaming now on BritBox.
Have you already watched Time?
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Acorn or BritBox - which one is best?
Whether you’re an American anglophile or one of us expats missing our Brit telly from home, you’ve no doubt heard of Acorn TV and BritBox. But the big question is - which one’s best?
Ever happy to oblige, I’ve included all you need to know about both streaming services, and even asked some Brit telly fans which one they prefer.
All About Acorn
Called a “glorious streaming service… an essential must-have” (The Hollywood Reporter) and “Netflix for the Anglophile” (NPR), AMC Networks’ Acorn TV is North America’s largest streaming service specializing in British and international television. Acorn TV adds exclusive new programs every week with a deep library of mysteries, dramas, and comedies with no commercials. In 2021, Acorn TV features several commissioned original series including the second season of Miss Fisher spinoff Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, British crime drama Whitstable Pearl, Kiwi romantic comedy Under the Vines and British detective drama Dalgliesh starring Bertie Carvel, as well as Irish crime thriller Bloodlands starring James Nesbitt and co-executive produced by Jed Mercurio, the return of New Zealand detective series My Life Is Murder starring Lucy Lawless, popular Canadian period drama Murdoch Mysteries, and a growing catalog of popular bingeable dramas that include A Place to Call Home, Detectorists, Jack Irish and Foyle’s War. Recent Acorn TV original series include Deadwater Fell starring David Tennant and Cush Jumbo, highly-rated BBC One drama The Nest; and groundbreaking BBC One period drama A Suitable Boy from Mira Nair. Upcoming Acorn TV original UK detective series in 2022 include Harry Wild starring Jane Seymour, The Chelsea Detective starring Adrian Scarborough and Signora Volpe starring Emilia Fox.
Acorn TV costs $5.99/month or $59.99/year after a free 7-day trial.
Facebook: OfficialAcornTV – Twitter: @AcornTV – Instagram: @Acorn_tv
From mysteries to histories, comedy to cookery, BritBox brings you the best of British television, direct from the UK. You can binge beloved classics, exclusive new series and special live events, with many premieres, current affairs and soaps streaming the same day as the UK. The streaming service was created by two British content powerhouses - BBC Studios, the commercial subsidiary arm of the BBC, and ITV, the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster. With 2 million subscribers outside the UK, BritBox also prides itself on the significant number of original content since The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco in 2018 to recently released series such as McDonald & Dodds S2. Other fan favourites include the highly acclaimed Line of Duty, as well as The Fall starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan.
Looking ahead to next year, BritBox recently announced a new adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Why Didn't They Ask Evans? starring Emma Thompson and Jim Broadbent among their highlights for 2022.
BritBox is available for $6.99 per month/$69.99 per year—after an introductory free trial period—on Roku®, Amazon Fire TV stick, Apple TV 4th Gen, Samsung, LG and all iOS and Android devices, AirPlay, Chromecast, and online at https://www.britbox.com/us/. BritBox is also available on Amazon Channels for Prime members and on Apple TV Channels on supported devices.
Facebook: @BritBox US
But what do real viewers think?
Kara in Atlanta:
“I have both: BritBox is great for keeping up-to-date on my favourite soaps. Acorn has a range of shows from the UK, Australia, New Zealand. I would say BritBox content is more current and has a substantial collection of vintage Brit comedy. Acorn has some gems, but I find I have to hunt a little more to find the stuff I like on Acorn.”
Frank and Christine in Florida:
“I’d say they are about equal, with Acorn having the tiniest edge for us. Mind you, we mainly watch thrillers, murder mysteries and legal/police shows. Neither of us like modern British comedy shows.
We watch more Acorn than Britbox because there is a better, if somewhat older, overall selection. What is annoying about it is it has a very clunky interface. There are no descriptions of each show on the screen - just a name. You have to use the internet to get a basic description. If you are watching a series, and say watched episode 5 tonight, go there tomorrow and there is no “continue watching” function. You have to hunt for episode 6 as if starting over. Another thing to consider is that you better have a good grasp of British regional accents. Virtually no shows on Acorn have closed captioning.
Britbox is slicker but lacks content volume. Our favorite shows are Vera (no new content in about 2 years), Shetland (no new content since forever), Line of Duty (now apparently finished) and Grace where they have only shown 2 episodes so far. They have far too little new material. We go months waiting for something decent.”
Lin in Atlanta:
“We love BOTH of them equally! They offer different genres of programs, dramas and series offerings. It will be hard to say which is the better, because they both offer all the programs that we love...mysteries and Detective series!”
The bottom line
So, all things considered, which one should you go for? Well, it very much depends on what you’re looking for. Both streaming services have lots to offer and tons of great stuff. At the end of the day, which one’s best is very much a matter of personal preference.
Whether you pick Britbox, Acorn TV
or even both (like me)
your Brit telly fix will be well sorted.
You can also read my latest Acorn and BritBox reviews here
Do you prefer BritBox or Acorn TV ?
Leave a comment below.
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