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Anglophile Alert: Brit DVD Retailer Acorn Media Streams Shakespeare, Rereleases Tinker Tailor

Thompson on Hollywood By Aljean Harmetz | Thompson on Hollywood December 22, 2011 at 1:59PM

Acorn Media, well known for its DVDs of classic British television programs, has carved out a new presence for itself as the first streaming service that specializes in British television.
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Playing Shakespeare
Playing Shakespeare

Acorn Media, well known for its DVDs of classic British television programs, has carved out a new presence for itself as the first streaming service that specializes in British television. 

Acorn TV, which was launched last July, recently added “Playing Shakespeare” -- a series of master classes by the co-founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company in which Patrick Stewart, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Ben Kingsley and other top-notch British actors play scenes and deconstruct Shakespeare’s language line by line -- to the list of British series it has begun streaming in the United States.

Acorn has always been heavy on mystery series and is currently streaming “Above Suspicion,” the newest series from Lynda La Plante who created “Prime Suspect,” and “Man in a Suitcase,” a 1968 Cold War thriller about an honest spy accused of treason.  But it is also streaming the classic PBS miniseries, “The Forsyte Saga,” and “Doc Martin,” in which a London doctor who can’t stand the sight of blood collides with a village of eccentrics in Cornwall.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

For an annual fee of $24.99 Acorn TV provides full seasons of 10 classic and contemporary British series to watch online, on iPhones, iPads, Apple TV and Google TV.  Each season is available for five weeks, with content rotating weekly.  And the first episode of each series is available for free.

However, Acorn has not put all its eggs in its streaming basket.  Coinciding with the feature film adaptation "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," starring Gary Oldman and Colin Firth, Acorn is re-releasing John le Carré’s classic Cold War spy drama starring Sir Alec Guinness. Among the new DVDs it will release in January are “The Windsors: From George to Kate,” Agatha Christie’s "Poirot, Series 1 and 2,” and “Bill Moyers: Amazing Grace.”
 

This article is related to: DVDs


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.