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.