By Aljean Harmetz | Thompson on Hollywood March 28, 2012 at 6:42PM
From little acorns massive oaks grow might apply to Acorn Media, which was started in its chairman’s spare bedroom in 1984. This week, Peter Edwards, the chairman, told the New York Times that Acorn believes it is the second largest distributor of British programming on DVD in North America, bested only by the BBC. The company also streams its Brit content.
Acorn Media recently added the epic 1976 BBC miniseries, "I Claudius," starring Derek Jacobi as the Roman Emperor to its burgeoning DVD catalog. Next month comes the original 1979 miniseries, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," starring Alec Guinness as the clever little man who smokes out a mole in the British secret service.
For Anglophiles and/or mystery buffs, $25 a year will buy hundreds of hours of watching classic British television series streamed by Acorn TV for five weeks before they are replaced by other classic series. (Acorn TV is available online, on iPad and on both Apple and Google TV.) Among those currently streaming are "Prime Suspect" Series 1 & 2 starring Helen Mirren, perhaps the most honored television mystery of all time, and "Brideshead Revisited," from Evelyn Waugh’s novel, which also has a permanent place on every magazine’s list of best-ever television series.
The oak is about to grow a little taller. Not content with buying old series, Acorn Media will be creating new ones. Acorn recently bought a 64 percent controlling interest in Agatha Christie’s abundant novels, plays and TV films and plans remakes of some of them. And next September production will start on three new episodes of "Foyle’s War," which stars Michael Kitchen as a police detective in a coastal English town during World War II. In 2010, Acorn bought all rights.