Cross The Streams: 4 great Netflix alternatives

For the days when you’re too hungover to leave the house but still want to feel cultured, here are the niche streaming services to fire up

Article by Peter Simpson | 14 Sep 2018


While Netflix are steadily hoovering up mainstream comedians for one-off specials, NextUp have a library of hour-long shows from some of the UK comedy circuit’s more interesting performers – the ones who hide away in the cracks and down the back of the proverbial sofa. You’ll find full-length sets from more than 50 comedians including Lou Sanders, Jordan Brookes and Rachel Parris, as well as mood-inspired playlists to help you through a whole afternoon. Your new flatmate thinks they’re a bit ‘random’? The comics on NextUp’s Random playlist will blow their tiny shiny mind.
(£3.50 per month, £35.99 per year)

BFI Player

If you want a bit of flexibility, the British Film Institute have you covered. Rent brand-new releases for a few quid at a time; their subscription arm offers a wild selection of everything from arthouse greats to seminal horror films; and if you don’t want to spend a penny, get some inspiration from their huge archive of free-to-watch short films from across the UK.
(Rentals from £2.50, subscription £4.99 per month)


Big algorithm-based services always suffer from the same problem – getting confused and offering you the same things over and over again. No such problems for MUBI, who stick to a slate of 30 handpicked films at a time, with a new movie on the service every day. Arthouse classics, exclusive new releases, and cinema from around the world are all on the menu. Top tip – the Glasgow Film Theatre’s Cinecard comes with a year’s subscription to MUBI as well as four free tickets for the GFT, allowing you to save cash and distribute culture around the place like a benevolent arthouse royal.
(£7.99 per month, GFT Cinecard £44 per year)

Digital Theatre

Some of the UK’s best productions end up here, shot in HD and uploaded for you to watch in your pyjamas at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon. Productions from the Old Vic, Royal Exchange Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company are all available for rent – enjoy serious acting with the bonus of being able to tell the actors to wait a minute while you make a cup of tea.
(Rentals from £7.99)