RadioTimes.com has reached out to numerous broadcasters in an attempt to track down details for a UK broadcast. Here is what we learned.
With a past history broadcasting Hulu shows in the UK, Amazon appeared the obvious home for The Handmaid’s Tale.
Broadcast reports that the streaming service has secured the rights to the dystopian drama, although when RadioTimes.com contacted Amazon Prime Video for confirmation they declined to comment.
A source had previously told RadioTimes.com, “Last we heard it was not coming to Amazon Prime, and there’s been no update since”.
The Handmaid’s Tale is produced by MGM Television, the same company who makes crime series Fargo.
Fargo is broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK, so the partnership is there, and the timing fits: like The Good Wife and Fargo, any UK broadcast of The Handmaid’s Tale would have to now take place weeks after the US air date.
We’ve asked Channel 4 for comment, and will update as soon as we hear.
An unlikely candidate: Sky has big budget deals with US broadcaster HBO and Showtime, and already has an established line-up of big US series from Game of Thrones to the upcoming revival of Twin Peaks. Both those shows incidentally also air at the same time in the US and UK in an effort to combat watching via illegal downloads. A spokesperson for Sky says there are “no plans” to broadcast the series.
Again, an unlikely partner for Hulu – the streaming services are already rivals in the US, and as far as we are aware no Hulu original series has been made available on Netflix.
ITV Encore’s drama Harlots airs on Hulu in the US. It could make for a great swap if ITV were to snatch the rights to The Handmaid’s Tale, even if its tale of ultra-conservative dystopian future isn’t necessarily an obvious fit for the broadcaster.
The BBC rarely buys in American dramas, preferring instead to produce its own series. However, last year’s hit American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson was an exception, as was slave drama Roots on BBC4, which aired almost a year after the US broadcast.
An adaptation of a celebrated novel is also just the kind of material that could just convince the BBC to swoop for The Handmaid’s Tale, but the chances are slim.
Just because there isn’t a UK air date yet doesn’t mean British viewers should give up hope – although given the slow reaction from UK broadcasters, by the time a deal is struck much of the audience might have already found other ways of watching. There are ways to watch Hulu in the UK, not to mention piracy websites…
However, in Canada, author Margaret Atwood’s home country, broadcast details were only confirmed right at the end of March – the series will air weekly on Bravo starting from 30 April, with the whole drama available to watch on Canadian streaming service CraveTV once the series finale has aired.