The BritBox UK hot list: From Spitting Image to Des - what to watch in October 2020

What’s on BritBox UK in October? Honour, Back to Life and Sue Perkins in Japan are just some of the best TV and movies highlights coming to BritBox this month.

By Sophia Moir Published: 2 October 2020 - 2.28pm
BBC / BritBox / ITV

It’s time to celebrate the very best of British content.

BritBox UK has unveiled what’s on the service in October, and it’s a treasure trove of content for subscribers.

As the nights start to draw in, cosy up for an evening on the sofa with a must-watch drama - with Des and Honour both launching on BritBox this month after airing on ITV in September.

There’s also brand new episodes of BritBox original Spitting Image, alongside a collection of documentaries to mark Black History Month, and a series of Hammer Horror films just in time for Halloween.

So what are you waiting for? We list the best of what’s coming up for the month ahead in our must-watch BritBox TV guide.

Plus, don’t miss what’s on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, NOW TV and Sky Cinema this month.

Black History Month collection 

This October on BritBox, Black History Month will be marked with a collection of documentaries, television series and films celebrating Black British voices. 

This includes the documentaries Mandela: From Prison to President and The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, as well as TV series including Desmonds, and films including Mike Leigh’s Secrets and Lies.

Black History Month collection launches Thursday, October 1 on BritBox.

Spitting Image - Exclusive to BritBox 

With the world getting smaller and more turbulent, there couldn't be a more appropriate time for an iconic British satirical take on global events, with brand new Spitting Image. 

Produced throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, over 100 puppets have already been developed by socially distanced teams of artists including Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Dominic Cummings and more.

Spitting Image launches Saturday, October 3 on BritBox.

Sue Perkins in Japan 

This BBC documentary series from 2019 sees TV presenter Sue Perkins take a journey through Japan, starting in Tokyo - a glittering capital city and home to 36 million people. 

She finds a nation caught between the demands of a hi-tech future and the pull of a traditional past, where people work long hours but struggle to find time for love and relationships. Birth rates are falling and the population is shrinking. 

What does the future hold for this resilient and innovative country?

Sue Perkins in Japan launches Thursday, October 8 on BritBox.

Emmerdale Family Trees

The ITV series from earlier in 2020 is narrated by Gaynor Faye and looks back at different generations of three of the soap’s most loved families: The Tates, The Sugdens and The Dingles. 

Emmerdale Family Trees includes a mixture of archive footage and new talking heads by cast members past and present.

Emmerdale Family Trees launches Thursday, October 15 on BritBox.

Back to Life

Created by and starring Daisy Haggard, this 2019 BBC comedy drama series is similar in tone to Fleabag, and was recently nominated for an International Emmy for Best Comedy.

Back to Life follows Miri Matteson (Haggard), who’s been released from prison after 18 years and arrives back in her hometown, a place she no longer recognises, in the dysfunctional family home she involuntarily left as a teenager.

Miri is the ultimate adult beginner - a funny, endearing, awkward woman, determined to move on from her violent past. 

Back to Life launches Thursday, October 15 on BritBox. 


Gripping three-part crime drama Des, which premiered on ITV in September, follows the arrest and trial of serial killer Dennis Nilsen (played by David Tennant). 

Told through the prism of three men – Dennis Nilsen, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay (Daniel Mays) and biographer Brian Masters (Jason Watkins) – the series explores the personal and professional consequences of coming into contact with a man like Nilsen.

Des launches Saturday, October 17 on BritBox.

The White Queen

This 2013 historical drama series, which originally aired on BBC One, is a riveting portrayal of one of the most dramatic and turbulent times in English history.

The White Queen is a story of love and lust, seduction and deception, betrayal and murder, and is uniquely told through the perspective of three different, yet equally relentless women - Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville. 

In their quest for power, they will scheme, manipulate and seduce their way onto the English throne.

The White Queen launches Thursday, October 22 on BritBox.

Howards End 

Howards End is the 2017 period drama adaptation of the 1910 novel of the same name by E. M. Forster,  co-produced between BBC One and American network STARZ. 

Starring Hayley Atwell and Helen Schlegel, Howards End tells the story of two independent and unconventional sisters seeking love and meaning as they navigate an ever-changing world. 

Howards End launches Thursday, October 22 on BritBox. 


Keeley Hawes stars as the real-life detective who brought five killers to justice in ITV's new factual drama Honour - the heartbreaking true story of Banaz Mahmod, the young Londoner murdered for falling in love with the wrong man. 

DCI Goode, played by Keeley Hawes, discovered that Banaz had been to the police five times to report threats to her life from members of her own family. 

Appalled that her own colleagues had missed multiple chances to save a young woman’s life and prevent a so-called 'honour killing', Caroline vowed that she would not rest until she finally got justice for Banaz. 

Honour launches Thursday, October 29 on BritBox. 

Grand Designs

Catch up with 10 years of Grand Design on BritBox, as all episodes of the hugely popular series aired from 1999 to 2019 are added to the service. 

Kevin McCloud presents this Channel 4 TV series that documents people building their dream homes, often with elaborate architecture and some unusual projects.

Grand Designs launches Thursday, October 29 on BritBox.

Bob & Rose: The Complete Series 

This primetime ITV drama, which originally aired in 2001, arrives on BritBox. Bob Gossage (Alan Davies) is a thirtysomething teacher who has been gay all his life. But he unexpectedly finds himself falling in love with a woman, Rose Cooper (Lesley Sharp). 

Various confusions and misunderstandings ensue, with Rose's heartbroken ex-boyfriend Andy (Daniel Ryan), Bob's jealous colleague Holly (Jessica Stevenson), and his gay-rights campaigning mother Monica (Penelope Wilton) all getting caught up in the mix.

Bob & Rose launches Thursday, October 29 on BritBox. 

Halloween Hammer House of Horror collection

A series of Hammer Horror films will be launched on BritBox, just in time for Halloween. The collection includes The Plague of the Zombies (1966), The Devil Rides Out (1968), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) starring Christoper Lee, Twins of Evil (1971), Vampire Circus (1972), Hands of the Ripper (1971) and the Hammer House of Horror anthology TV series from 1980 featuring Peter Cushing, Brian Cox, Pierce Brosnan, and more. 

Halloween Hammer House of Horror collection launches Thursday, October 29 on BritBox.