JUST a few short weeks ago, the expressions ‘self-isolation’, ‘contact tracing’ and ‘social distancing’ meant little to most of us.

Now, they’re all we can talk about.

Millions of people are having to spend a great deal more time at home than they are accustomed to. Employers are encouraging workers to work from home, where possible. Many people are having to isolate themselves in order to protect others and slow down the spread of Covid-19.

The upshot is, how do we occupy all this unfamiliar extra domestic time?

One answer: we can go online and stream films, documentaries, comedies, reality shows, arts programmes and television shows onto our internet-connected TV screens, laptops, smartphones, consoles or tablets.

Here’s a selection of what is available.



SURELY the daddy of them all. It currently has some 167 million paid memberships across 190 countries.

Remarkably comprehensive, it offers films (new and old), TV shows, documentaries and comedy shows. New ones are being added all the time.

A measure of its commitment to new, original programming comes from the fact that in 2018 it hosted in excess of 1,500 of such content.

A sample of its offerings: The Crown; Martin Scorsese’s latest film, The Irishman (Robert de Niro, Joe Pesci); Orange is the New Black; Uncut Gems, a critically-praised new film starring Adam Sandler; Better Call Saul, a spin-off from Breaking Bad (which is itself on Netflix); House of Cards, the US political drama; the Oscar-winning film, Roma, by Alfonso Cuaron; and Afterlife, the recent Ricky Gervais series.

Friends is on Netflix, as are Blackadder, Still Game, Homeland, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Big Bang Theory, Mad Men, Only Fools and Horses, Narcos, Peaky Blinders, Springsteen on Broadway, Mindhunter, and Darkest Hour, which led to Gary Oldman winning an Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in 1940.

There are documentaries and comedy specials galore, too.

COST: Between £5.99 and £11.99 per month, depending on package.

Basic: You can watch on one screen at a time in Standard Definition, and download videos on one phone or tablet.

Standard: You can watch on two screens at a time. Full HD (1080p) available. Videos can be downloaded on two phones or tablets.

Premium enables you to watch on four screens at a time. Full HD (1080p) and Ultra HD (4K) available. Download videos on four phones or tablets.


https: www/amazon.co.uk/Amazon-Video

A GREAT selection of films and TV programmes.

Amazon Originals and Exclusives range from The Professor and the Madman (starring Mel Gibson), Hunters (about Nazi hunters in 1970s New York, starring Al Pacino), The Grand Tour (every petrolhead’s favourite show), Outlander, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan; and the excellent The Looming Tower, about the rivalries between the CIA and the FBI in the years before 9/11.

Other offerings include the films Stan & Ollie, If Beale Street Could Talk, the Oscar-winning Green Book, Wild Rose, and Carol, an exquisite romance between Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

There’s the Coldplay documentary, A Head Full of Dreams, to say nothing of the Bruce Springsteen-inspired film, Blinded by the Light.

Films and TV shows can be rented or bought.

COST: Amazon Prime membership, which contains several benefits, costs £79 a year or £7.99 a month.



This site offers you the chance to buy or rent “the latest movies straight from the cinema”. Frozen 2, which is not released on DVD until March 30, can be bought and kept for between £13.99 and £17.99.

There is a wide range of new or vintage films available, from Sliding Doors and A Streetcar Named Desire to Gone with the Wind, Mamma Mia!, Last Christmas, Joker and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.



ITS website explains the ease with which you can watch films or TV shows here. Choose the Passes you need; sign up; start streaming. You can watch instantly online with Now TV apps or stream to your Smart TV.

The Entertainment Pass (seven-day free trial, then £8.99 per month) offers more than 300 boxsets.

The Sky Cinema Pass (seven-day free trial, then £11.99 per month) ranges across Bohemian Rhapsody, Mary Queen of Scots, Catch Me If You Can and Anchorman.

The Kids Pass (seven-day free trial, then £3.99 per month) has thousands of ad-free kids’ TV episodes,

The Sports Pass (from £5.99) has Sky Sports live matches and events; the hayu Pass (seven-day free trial, then £3.99 per month), has access to a large number of reality shows from the States.



THE newest kid on the streaming block, and one of the cheapest too. The service is available on the Apple TV app on the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac and other platforms, including online at the website, for £4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial.

The star attractions include The Morning Show, a Golden Globe-nominated look behind the scenes at a US early-morning TV show, starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell; the comedy, Little America; a talk-show, Oprah’s Book Club; and a drama, Home Before Dark.



“Start streaming BritBox and binge on all the award-winning and most talked-about British dramas, comedies, film and documentaries from the BBC & ITV”, reads the message on the home page.

The first 30 days are free, then it is £5.99 per month.

The offerings remind you of the extent to which the BBC and ITV have helped shape the popular-culture landscape: Broadchurch, Extras, Inside No.9, Vera, Shetland, White House Farm, Rev, Wolf Hall, Maigret, Whitechapel. Something for every taste.



LANDMARK classic and cult films, free for 14 days then £4.99 a month. Some excellent offerings here: King of New York; Lady Vengeance; The Seventh Seal (starring Max von Sydow, who died just last week; and the Italian classic, Bicycle Thieves.



INGENIOUS site offering some of the best, the most ground-breaking films of recent years.

Films are rented on a 'per film' basis; there are no monthly subscription fees.

Prices are between £3.99 and £11.99, depending on when they were released.

If you become a Curzon Cinema member, the prices are discounted to £2.99 - £9.99.

Current offerings on Curzon include the acclaimed Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Michael Caton-Jones’s Scandal, When Lambs Become Lions, and Mr Jones.

ON THE WAY: DISNEY+ has already announced itself as a major rival to Netflix and Amazon Prime, with a remarkable stable of attractions- Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and more.

There will be in excess of 1,000 films, TV shows and originals to choose from.

It’s been reported that a Disney+ subscription will cost £5.99 per month in the UK. Annual subscriptions will be £59.99. The launch will come with a free seven-day trial to new subscribers.