Why isn’t The Handmaid’s Tale available to watch in the UK? – And when will it be

Why isn’t The Handmaid’s Tale available to watch in the UK?


And when will it be…

The Margaret Atwood novel-based series has received amazing reviews in the US. Currently available in the US on Hulu, British fans and others in territories that Hulu is not available to have been forced to find online streams from dodgy sites or wait impatiently as everyone else raves about it.

Since Hulu took to twitter to announce the series will soon be available, fans have taken to guessing which channel/service will be showing the popular tv show.

We take a look at the top candidates:



Let’s kick it off with the most unlikely, though I’d love to see the series on Netflix as I, like many others, already have an account (and for the monthly subscription price is a bargain for the amount of good quality content that is available) it’s really unlikely. Netflix is a direct competitor of Hulu, and even though this would allow Hulu to provide content to a region they don’t currently operate in, it’s not likely they’d want to go to a competitor to do so. No Hulu original series has been made available on Netflix, thus far.


Channel 4:

When you think about it, the Handmaid’s tale would be a natural fit for the channel. MGM Television, who produce the Atwood drama in conjunction with Hulu, are the same company that make the popular crime series, Fargo, which is already available on the channel. The ground work is laid in terms of a working production and business relationship between the two, so it wouldn’t be difficult. In fact, Channel 4 is one of the more likely channels for the show to be aired on. According to their schedule with American shows such as Fargo and The Good Wife, we’d expect to see the program airing in a matter of weeks.



Unlikely, but definitely possible. They certainly have the budget and a history of Big budget deals with HBO and Showtime. They also have room on the roster as well as a wide variety of channels to showcase the drama on. Their line-up of US Series ranges from Game of Thrones (of course) to Twin peaks, so Handmaid’s tale would be right at home amongst some of the largest TV Drama’s being aired currently.

What makes this unlikely is that the majority of American shows aired on Sky are aired at the same time in the US and the UK in order to avoid illegal downloads and streaming affecting their numbers. Both Twin Peaks and Game of Thrones are examples of this. The final nail in the coffin is the fact that a spokesperson from Sky has said that they have “no plans” on broadcasting the series…though we choose to take this with a pinch of salt, as “plans” often change.

Now TV:

This is more of an offshoot of Sky, as many programs available on Sky are also available on Now TV. And though it’s a long shot, could The Handmaid’s Tale be the first series to be made available only on Now TV?


Amazon Prime:

Amazon prime is one of the front runners and perhaps the most likely avenue. They have a history of broadcasting Hulu shows in the UK, and the Margaret Atwood inspired series would be right at home on the channel. However, Amazon usually promotes exclusive content months before the airing as they did with the show “American Gods” and there has been no such media hype to date.  The lack of information or any mentions from Amazon prime could suggest that Hulu and MGM are choosing a different channel for this series, perhaps to reach a larger crowd.



A number of ITV dramas are currently available and airing on Hulu in the US. So the relationship between the two is already established. It’s entirely feasible that the relationship will continue and move into a reciprocal deal that sees’s Hulu airing the handmaid’s tale on ITV.  The Atwood Drama isn’t a typical ITV Drama, but for a channel attempting to branch out and cover more demographics, this would be an excellent move both strategically, and in terms of numbers.



Though the BBC traditionally doesn’t usually buy American shows as it prefers to produce and create its own series and content, with the airing of the American Crime Story: The people vs OJ Simpson, this could be set to change. The Crime series was a hit and may well have opened the door for more American Drama series to break through on the channel. The Handmaid’s tale series also has the benefit of being an adaptation of an original and celebrated novel, which is the kind of content the BBC is likely to be swayed by.


Somewhere else?

There are ways to watch Hulu in the UK using VPN’s and such, and of course free online streaming services and websites. It’s unfortunate that UK Broadcasters have been slow to react so far, as it has caused viewers to use these often less than reputable sources, as I myself have had to do in order to review watch and review the show so far.

Author Atwood herself said at the end of March that news of a UK broadcaster would be “coming soon, I trust”.


As soon as I know more, I will confirm the UK air date and channel.

Though i focused on the UK, i am also currently trying to find air dates for other regions such as Australia.


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