Arts

Disney goes digital: we take a look at what's available from new streaming service Disney+

New Disney+ streaming service has just launched in Britain and Ireland, bringing with it more than 500 films and over 300 TV series. Laura Harding investigates

The Mandalorian is now available to Disney+ subscribers in Ireland and Britain
Laura Harding

FILMS from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, National Geographic and Star Wars, as well as a huge raft of TV shows, are all available in one place with the launch of new streaming service Disney+.

The new rival to Netflix and Amazon will be home to a raft of classic animation such as Cinderella, Beauty And The Beast, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King and newer favourites such as Frozen, Up and Inside Out.

It will also be home to the original Star Wars films A New Hope, Return Of The Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back and newer releases The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and Rogue One, as well as a raft of Marvel content including the Avengers films, Black Panther, Iron Man and Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Also among the more than 500 films are family classics such as Bedknobs & Broomsticks, Mary Poppins and Pollyanna, as well as Home Alone, Mrs Doubtfire and Avatar.

"There is nothing quite like our catalogue of content from over the many years, from all of these brands," says Ricky Strauss, the president of Disney+ content and marketing.

"I think we have also launched some really great programming that I'm excited for subscribers to see."

Indeed, among the originals on the platform are a new version of Lady And The Tramp, which follows in the footsteps of The Lion King and The Jungle Book and retells the 1955 animated classic using photo-realistic animation.

The romantic story about a sheltered cocker spaniel and a downtown mutt features the voices of Tessa Thompson as Lady and Justin Theroux as Tramp.

Alongside the raft of blockbusters there are more than 300 series, including 600 episodes of The Simpsons and 26 new original series such as High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, The World According To Jeff Goldblum and The Imagineering Story.

The very meta-sounding High School Musical show follows on from the success of the three High School Musical films (also available on Disney +) and returns to East High, this time as a mockumentary series about a group of teenagers staging High School Musical: The Musical as their school play.

It stars Olivia Rodrigo as Nini Salazar-Roberts, who is cast as Gabriella Montez (played by Vanessa Hudgens in the original films) in the school show, while Joshua Bassett plays Ricky Bowen, who is cast as Troy Bolton (who was played by Zac Efron).

The most anticipated of them all is the Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian, which has been the biggest hit so far for the streaming service since its launch in the US.

The story of a lone helmeted gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, played by Pedro Pascal, features the internet phenomenon Baby Yoda, officially known as The Child.

The pint-sized green, big-eared creature has become a viral hit since the series aired in the US and now the first four episodes are available on this side of the Atlantic. The rest will be released weekly, and be available on the service every Friday at 8am, while the second series will launch in line with the US.

Meanwhile, Hollywood star Jeff Goldblum gets his own show with The World According To Jeff Goldblum, in which he pulls back the curtain on seemingly familiar objects including ice cream, tattoos and jewellery. He also investigates the science and ideas behind cosmetics, swimming pools, trainers and denim.

And the break-out character from Toy Story 4 (also available on Disney + alongside 1, 2 and 3), Forky, returns for his own series.

Forky Asks A Question sees him ask important questions about how the world works, such as: 'What is love?', 'What is time?'. And even – 'What is cheese?'.

So much content, especially for children, will no doubt come as a welcome distraction for parents with young children obliged to stay at home due to the spread of coronavirus.

"We are all of us, in the world that we live in, facing really challenging times," Strauss says.

"When we first launched in the US, there was a lot of pieces written about how Disney+ is the great babysitter, but it's important to underscore that Disney+ is not just for kids.

"When you have original shows that we are going to have from Marvel, or a show like The Mandalorian from Star Wars, and some of our Nat Geo content, as well as some of our Disney content, it's not just for kids, it's definitely for families of all kinds. There is still so much for adults to consume and enjoy."

:: Disney+ is available now

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