Stuck at home? Now’s the time to try an entertainment app for free

The elderly will no doubt feel relieved that the BBC has agreed to delay charging the over-75s for a television licence in light of the coronavirus outbreak. 

But with some people now expected to self-isolate at home for three months, or even longer, you may want more than just the black box in your living room to get your entertainment fix. 

The good news is that there are plenty of films, boxsets, music, audiobooks and even games at your fingertips – and many are entirely free for the first month at least. Popular video-calling apps can also help you stay close to your family and friends.

Here, Money Mail details what’s on offer. 

For boxset addicts, Netflix offers a choice of 500 TV programmes and 2,400 films, including hit series The Crown (pictured)


For boxset addicts, Netflix offers a choice of 500 TV programmes and 2,400 films, including hit series The Crown. 

You can sign up for a 30-day free trial and watch the shows on a smart TV, laptop or tablet. After the trial, a basic subscription costs £5.99 a month. 

This will allow you to watch anything you want on one device. If you are a couple, you can upgrade to a standard subscription, costing £8.99 a month, and watch shows on two separate devices. 

Or, for larger families, with the £11.99 premium deal you can watch shows on four different screens. 

If you only want to use it for the free trial, remember to cancel before the first payment is taken. You will receive a reminder email three days before the free period ends. 


If you like radio dramas, it is very likely you will also enjoy podcasts. From politics to gardening, there is something for all interests. 

You can download these on to your tablet or smartphone and listen whenever you like. 

And if you are enjoying a series, you can also subscribe so that future episodes are downloaded automatically. 

Apple Podcasts, on iPhones and iPads, are free of charge. You can currently download a BBC World Series show called 13 Minutes To The Moon, which documents Nasa’s missions into space. 

If you have an Android device instead of an iPhone or iPad, you can listen to free podcasts on the Pocket Casts app


For music fans, there are more than 30 million songs available on Spotify. You can download the app for free, but you will have to listen to adverts in between songs. 

Classic viewing: Fawlty Towers is available on BritBox

Classic viewing: Fawlty Towers is available on BritBox

To escape the adverts you can sign up for Spotify Premium at £9.99 a month. There is also a generous three-month free trial. 

Students get a discounted rate of £4.99 and there is a family deal at £14.99 a month, which allows you to share one account with up to five people as long as you all live at the same address. 


This service offers shoppers one-day delivery on millions of products, but it also gives you access to around 18,000 films and 1,900 TV shows, plus books, magazines and more than two million songs. 

There is a 30-day free trial, after which you’ll pay £7.99 a month. Or, if you purchase an annual subscription, you can pay £79 upfront and save £16.88. 


Audible allows you to download one or two audio books each month if you have a subscription. Once you have downloaded the book, it is yours to keep for ever — even if you later cancel your direct debit. 

For one audiobook a month, the service costs £7.99 a month. For two, it’s £14.99 a month. Or you can pay £109.99 a year. An annual subscription could save you up to £69.89. There is also a 30-day free trial. 

Currently avail­able audiobooks include Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror And The Light, and the Sherlock Holmes collection, read by Stephen Fry. 


If you enjoy classic TV shows, the ITV/BBC streaming service BritBox may be for you. Its catalogue of shows includes Fawlty Towers, Happy Valley and Gavin & Stacey. 

Subscribers pay £5.99 a month and there is no discounted annual subscription, but you can try it for free for 30 days. 


Sky’s streaming service also offers access to a selection of films and boxsets. With the Sky Cinema Pass you can choose from more than 1,000 films for £11.99 a month. 

The Entertainment Pass includes access to 300 boxsets for £8.99 a month. Both come with a seven-day free trial. 

Hilary Mantel¿s new book The Mirror and The Light

Hilary Mantel’s new book The Mirror and The Light

There is also a sports subscription, but many major fixtures are postponed. 


You can use Skype to make video calls over the internet for free. The app can bedownloaded on to smartphones, tablets and computers. 

You just need a mobile phone number and email address to sign up. If you are calling someone through their computer or their phone app, there is no charge. 

But if you are calling a landline or mobile phone number, you will have to buy credit or sign up to a subscription. You could pay £6 a month for 400 minutes of calls to UK numbers. 


There are a host of free games to play on your tablet or smartphone. Words With Friends, for example, is a bit like Scrabble. 

If your friends also download the app, you can play against each other. But watch out when talking to strangers over the app, as scammers are known to prey on some users.


Stay informed with mailplus. where you will find free briefings, podcasts and videos from inside the newsroom — including Andrew Pierce’s daily radio show. 

Or visit for digital editions of the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday, plus interactive puzzles with hints, timers and prizes. 

The first month costs just £1, increasing to £10.99 a month thereafter. Or save £12 by paying £119.88 upfront for a year’s subscription. You can cancel the monthly deal at any time. 

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