BritBox, the subscription streaming service from BBC Studios and ITV, in February gives viewers a double dose of the most notorious serial killer in Welsh history.
The Pembrokeshire murders occurred in the 1980s, but were only solved in the 2000s when new detectives took on the cold case. BritBox will air two 2021 productions, one a dramatization starring Luke Evan as newly promoted Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins, who helped bring the killer to justice. The other is a three-part documentary about the case, running in tandem with the miniseries. Read more below, but I tried to take out any info that would give too much away.
The first 21 seasons of the forensic series “Silent Witness” also come to BritBox in February. (There are 23 seasons total.) I enjoy this series, despite the implausibility of how involved the forensic scientists get in every aspect of the cases. I like the later seasons more, but they’re all more interesting than all the never-ending explaining on the “CSI” shows. One tip: Each story is set up as a two-parter, and that’s as much as I’d recommend watching in a single sitting. Otherwise, certain patterns in the storytelling start to seem overused.
Find the rest of the BritBox schedule below.
BritBox February 2021 Premieres
Tuesday, Feb. 2
The Pembrokeshire Murders
3 episodes, airs weekly, 2021; North American premiere of BritBox Original, exclusive
Two unsolved double murders from the 1980s cast a long shadow over the work of the Dyfed-Powys police force. In 2006, newly promoted DS Steve Wilkins (Luke Evans) decides to reopen both cases. Employing pioneering forensic methods, Wilkins and his handpicked team find microscopic DNA and fibers that potentially link the murders to a string of burglaries committed in the ’80s and ’90s. However, with the perpetrator of those crimes nearing the end of his prison sentence, Wilkins and team find themselves in a race against time to make the connection — ultimately being aided by an unlikely source … a British game show. From the producers of the Netflix hit “Bodyguard.”
The Pembrokeshire Murders: Catching the Gameshow Killer
3 episodes; 2021 documentary, new to BritBox
This doc gives the real-life account of the infamous Pembrokeshire murders and the gameshow serial killer. He was hiding in plain sight at the center of the community he terrorized, and became so confident that he could outsmart the law that he appeared on the ITV hit game show “Bullseye” four years after he murdered Richard and Helen Thomas and just weeks before he struck again in 1989.
Friday, Feb. 5
Waiting For God
Series 4-5, 18 episodes, 1993-94; new to BritBox, exclusive
This popular British sitcom follows two spirited residents of a retirement home (Graham Crowden and Stephanie Cole) who spend their time running rings around the home’s oppressive management and their own families. Refusing to grow old gracefully, Tom and Diana cause more madness and mayhem in the fourth and fifth series of this delightful comedy.
Monday, Feb. 8
8 episodes, 2021; North American premiere, exclusive
Snow and rain raged in a large swath of the U.S. this past weekend. But fear not, “Winterwatch” is here to warm us up. Broadcasting from the wilds of Scotland, the “Winterwatch” team takes an in-depth look at how Britain’s wildlife is faring up and down the country. The “Watch” team chronicles the exploits of British wildlife through the coldest and toughest months of the year at Cairngorms National Park. New episodes arrive daily, following Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin in New Forest, Gillian Burke at the Cornish Beaver Project in Cornwall, and Iolo Williams at the Centre for Alternative Technology.
Tuesday, Feb. 9
Diana: The Interview That Shook the World
Hourlong special, 2020; North American premiere, exclusive
In 1995, BBC Panorama shared a candid interview with Princess Diana where she opened up to Martin Bashir about her marriage to Prince Charles and life as a royal. This documentary looks at how this now 25-year-old broadcasting event was orchestrated, what the interview revealed about modern society, and new insights into the psychological portrait of Diana herself.
Friday, Feb. 12
Cold Feet: The New Years
Series 4, 6 episodes, 2020; new to BritBox
The popular British comedy series based on the long-running comedy drama “Cold Feet” returns for a fourth season with its famous sharp humor and closely observed emotional truth. Faced with retirement and the prospect of empty nests, the gang finally can kick back and enjoy the fruits of their labors — if only mid-life were that simple.
Tuesday, Feb. 16
120-minute movie, 2020; North American premiere of BritBox Original, exclusive
Keeley Hawes stars as DCI Caroline Goode in the tragic — and true — story of Banaz Mahmod, a London woman killed by her family because of a relationship they considered shameful. When DCI Good discovers that Banaz had been to the police five times to report threats to her life from members of her own family, she is appalled that her colleagues have missed multiple chances to prevent this so-called “honour” killing. Written by Gwyneth Hughes and directed by Richard Laxton, the film brings to light a difficult subject and details a detective’s unwavering quest to pursue justice.
Tuesday, Feb. 23
8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown
Series 18, 9 episodes, 2019; North American premiere, exclusive
Jimmy Carr hosts this comedic panel show that mixes formats of two popular British shows — the topical hit “8 Out of 10 Cats” and the cerebral words-and-number game “Countdown.” Team captains Sean Lock and Jon Richardson each host a guest team member, as mathematician Rachel Riley handles the numbers and lexicographer-etymologist Susie Dent is on dictionary duty.
Friday, Feb. 26
Series 1-21, 192 episodes, 1996-2018; new to BritBox
Ex-policeman Nigel McCrery’s pathology procedural has evolved since debuting in 1996. The first five seasons follow the investigations of Professor Sam Ryan (Amanda Burton), who will not allow a case to close until the truth is discovered, regardless of the controversy she may cause. In Series 6, Dr. Leo Dalton (William Gaminara) takes over as professor when Ryan leaves. He’s joined by Dr. Harry Cunningham (Tom Ward) and later by Dr. Nikki Alexander (Emilia Fox). Forensics expert Jack Hodgson (David Caves), his assistant Clarissa Mullery (Liz Carr), and Dr. Thomas Chamberlain (Richard Lintern) join the team in later series. Over the 21 seasons, the team delves deep into a variety of complex, mysterious and suspicious deaths, unraveling clues that will help to find and identify the killers.