May 2023 is upon us, and so is a moment in history. For the first time in 70 years, a new U.K. monarch will be crowned live in history's second-ever televised royal coronation. This historical moment is made even more notable as the last time a coronation was broadcast, television was in its infancy, with Elizabeth II's crowning carried by the BBC in low-definition black and white (though it was also filmed in color, only a tiny handful of TV owners could receive the broadcast). Americans, Australians, and Canadians couldn't see it live, instead watching on a one-day tape delay. However, it was the first live event to broadcast from the U.K. to Europe, birthing Eurovision.
Speaking of Eurovision, this month is a double whammy for U.K. history, as The Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla will roll right into the Eurovision Song Contest, airing live from Liverpool. This is the first time Eurovision has broadcast from the U.K. in this century; the last time the country hosted was in 1998 from Birmingham. Though this technically makes the U.K. the country to host the most Eurovision contests (nine times since 1960), it is Ukraine hosting, with the U.K. providing space due to the ongoing war.
These are not the only British titles streaming here in the U.S. for May 2023. Here's a full rundown of everything coming this month and where to find it.
The Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla
BritBox and PBS have the exclusive rights to the full ITV and BBC airings in the United States, respectively, but BBC America will be airing the ceremony itself from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. ET, with the documentary Charles R: The Making of a Monarch airing the night before on Friday, May 5, at 8 p.m. ET. The Coronation: A Day To Remember recap special will not air on BBCA, but it will come to streaming on AMC+ on May 12, 2023. (Charles R will also come to AMC+, but not until June.)
Attenborough’s Global Adventure
BBC America may have lost out on Wild Isles, but it still has some David Attenborough nature specials for viewers to love. Attenborough’s Global Adventure is a feature film that takes the naturalist from the Great Barrier Reef to the ancient rainforests of Borneo, introducing viewers to the fascinating creatures he has encountered along the way. It airs on BBC America starting Saturday, May 13, 2023, and streams on AMC+ the same day.
A Canadian-Irish series, SisterS stars real-life BFFs Sarah Goldberg and Susan Stanley as two half-sisters who discover each other in their late 30s. When Sare’s (Golberg) mother dies, she learns about bio-dad and half-sister Suze (Stanley), whose life is equally shambolic. The two embark on a road trip across Ireland to find their alcoholic father and bond along the way. Season 1 premieres Wednesday, May 17, 2023, on IFC as a weekly release, with all episodes arriving on Sundance Now and AMC+ the same day.
Happy Valley Season 3
And now the reason Acorn TV didn’t get a standalone listing: Happy Valley Season 3. The show’s long-awaited final season starring Sarah Lancashire and James Norton is expected to be a big enough deal by AMC Networks that the producer is streaming jointly on AMC+ and AcornTV while airing it on BBC America starting Monday, May 22 and following a weekly release schedule on all three platforms.
Prehistoric Planet Season 2
Like April's Big Beasts, Prehistoric Planet is technically an American production done by Apple TV+ and producer Jon Favreau. However, the series is made in conjuncture with BBC Studios' Natural History Unit and Mike Gunton, a veteran of the Planet Earth series. Most importantly, it's narrated by David Attenborough. Despite being 97, he does not actually interact with the dinos. Season 2 premieres Monday, May 22, with the five-episode series debuting new installments every day through Friday, May 26, 2023.
Countdown to the Crown: The Who’s Who and What’s What of the Coronation
BritBox is all in on the Coronation of King Charles III, with daily programming all week in the runup to the actual event itself. The Countdown to the Crown documentaries include:
- May 1: 5 Weird and Wonderful Objects of the Coronation
- May 2: How Much Is the King’s Crown Really Worth?
- May 3: What is the Future of the British Monarchy?
- May 4: What Not To Wear To the King’s Coronation
- May 5: Who is Invited to the Coronation (and Who Isn’t)
Arthur: A Life With The Royal Family
Along with its coronation-oriented documentaries, BritBox also has Arthur: A Life With The Royal Family, which looks at Charles’ life through the lens of royal photographer Arthur Edwards, who covered the monarchy for The Sun for 45 years, the longest-serving of any newspaper. The 80-minute film shows some of the more candid moments when the protocol is put aside, revealing the true personalities behind the Crown. The documentary arrives Monday, May 1, 2023.
The Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla
We’ve got the rundown of What To Expect When You’re Expecting a Coronation. BritBox is one of the few streaming services going nose-to-tail on the broadcast, with exclusive rights to ITN’s live broadcast of the occasion hosted by Tom Bradby and Julie Etchingham. (BritBox is owned & operated by ITV in the U.K., and half O&O in the states.) There will also be an hour-long highlights show after the ceremony concludes. The coronation begins at 2:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, May 6, 2023.
The Ghost of Richard Harris/Peter O’Toole -- Along the Sky Road to Aqaba
A double feature of 2022 documentaries on the late Richard Harris and Peter O’Toole arrive together. The Ghost of Richard Harris features interviews with his family, including actor Jared Harris, while Peter O’Toole -- Along the Sky Road to Aqaba is narrated in his own words. Arriving along with these docs are several films, including O’Toole in Foxtrot, The Ruling Class, The Stuntman, and Goodbye Mr. Chips, and Harris in Camelot and The Cassandra Crossing. All titles arrive Tuesday, May 9, 2023.
The Tower 2: Death Message
Based on the mystery series by former detective Kate London, The Tower was a breakout hit in the U.K., giving the Gemma Whelan-led series a Season 2 based on London’s follow-up novel, Death Message. Whelan returns as DS Sarah Collins, now at Homicide Command. Her first assignment seems impossible: investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl who went missing on the day of Princess Diana’s funeral. The four-episode season streams weekly starting Tuesday, May 16, 2023.
The Cleaner Season 2
Greg Davies’ comedy send-up of mysteries solved by the oddest of detectives, The Cleaner, returns for a guest star-studded second round. Davies returns as Wicky, the guy they call to mop up the blood after detectives are finished with the crime scene. Armed with his scrub brushes, bleach, and a wonderful sense of accidental timing around suspects who don’t think to look at the guy doing the dirty work, he’s back to solve seven more cases. All episodes arrive Wednesday, May 31, 2023.
Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All
Most of the time, Disney+ is all-American but May brings a rare British-produced documentary, Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All. The pop-music superstar follows in the footsteps of Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, and Taylor Swift in a behind-the-scenes look at his life and the making of his music, boasting that the ginger singer will "open the doors of his private life. The documentary series drops all four episodes on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.
Charles: In His Own Words
The National Geographic special, Charles: In His Own Words, is a new documentary special filled with footage of Charles reflecting back on his life in interviews that fell by the wayside and includes never before seen footage. It airs on the NatGeo channel and streams on both Disney+ and Hulu ahead of Coronation weekend on Friday, May 5, 2023.
Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming with David Letterman
Not to be outdone by the younguns, U2 -- well, Bono and the Edge anyway -- are also coming to streaming to bear their souls, or at least what's left of their souls after forty years of rock and roll. Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming with David Letterman is only "sort of" because it was taped in Los Angeles, not Ireland. Also, they got relegated to Hulu instead of hanging with the cool kids on Disney+. The special streams on Thursday, May 11, 2023.
The Great Season 3
Huzzah! The Great returns to Hulu for a third season. The Elle Fanning-Nicholas Hoult-starring, not-exactly-historically-accurate take on the Russian czardom and the life of Catherine The Great returns to find the couple trying their best to work out their differences and make their marriage work, despite Catherine's insistence on trying to overthrow him when he's not trying to destroy her. The ten-episode season arrives all at once on Friday, May 12, 2023.
Hulu's other overseas series for May is actually a Disney+ series deemed too adult for the American version. The Clearing is an Australian production based on the best-selling non-fiction book In The Clearing by J.P. Pomare, detailing the 1960s rise of the real-life cult group The Family, and their charismatic leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne (Miranda Otto), one of the few female cult leaders in history. The series premieres with two episodes Wednesday, May 24, 2023, with a once-a-week release schedule to follow.
The Great British Baking Show: Juniors Season 7
Netflix skipped the first five seasons of the tween-and-teen version of the popular The Great British Baking Show, starting with The Great British Baking Show: Juniors (known overseas by the much shorter Junior Bake Off) Season 6 (which aired on Channel 4 in 2021) in August 2022, dropped all at once as a test case. It must have worked because, almost a year later, the streaming service is back with all episodes of Season 7 (which aired on Channel 4 in January 2022) arriving Wednesday, May 3, 2023.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
The only coronation Netflix recognizes is that of a Queen, Charlotte, to be exact. Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, the first prequel spinoff of the mega-popular Bridgerton series, is the first from the Shondaland not based on anything Julia Quinn previously wrote (though she rushed to get her name on the novelization, out in bookstores the same day). All six episodes of this Georgian-set love story arrive on Star Wars Day, May 4, 2023, just before Charles III takes the throne.
King Charles: The Boy Who Walked Alone
Most American streamers are simply contenting themselves in carrying their network counterpart's live broadcasts of the coronation without much embellishment; in Paramount+'s case, that would be CBS. But since the parent company happens to own Channel 5, it'll also premiere the documentary King Charles: The Boy Who Walked Alone the week before the coronation, with the film arriving Tuesday, May 2, 2023.
Three Thousand Years of Longing
The Idris Elba-Tilda Swinton feature film take on the traditional genie-and-the-lamp story, Three Thousand Years of Longing, arrives on streaming under the Paramount+ banner in May as well as on Amazon Prime. Swinton plays a lonely scholar who discovers a Djinn (Elba) during a trip to Istanbul in this deep dive into the myological cautionary tale. The film premieres Tuesday, May 16, 2023.
The Royal Rundown
Like Paramount+, Peacock will mostly rely on its broadcast counterpart to provide any streaming coverage of the coronation (in this case, NBC/MSNBC). However, NBC is going more in-depth than some, with The Today Show bringing American viewers The Royal Rundown, a deep dive ahead of the event with everything viewers need to know ahead of time. The special airs and streams on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.
The coronation bank holiday is Monday, May 8, giving U.K.ers a three-day weekend. Then, on Tuesday, the BBC turns to pop coverage as the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest broadcasts live from Liverpool with the first Semi-final. The second Semi-final broadcasts on Thursday, and the Grand Final on Saturday, where, for the first time, Americans will be able to join the popular vote for the winner. All three stream live on Peacock on Tuesday, May 9, Thursday, May 11, and Saturday, May 13, 2023, at 3 p.m. ET.