How to watch the five-part anthology film series Small Axe online from anywhere

Small Axe Press
Small Axe Press (Image credit: BBC)

What was initially conceived of as a TV series by Academy Award, Bafta and Golden Globe-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen has turned into a five-part anthology film series called Small Axe and we have all the details on how you can watch it online or on TV.

Set from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, McQueen's Small Axe films each tell a story involving London's West Indian community which faced rampant racism and discrimination. While the stories depicted in the films are set decades ago, each one remains as timely today as they were for the West Indian community living in London at the time.

The first film titled "Mangrove" tells the story of Frank Chriclow, played by Shaun Parkes, who owned a Carribean restaurant in Notting Hill that served as a community base for locals, intellectuals and activists. However, when the police raided the Mangrove restaurant, Chriclow and the local community took to the streets in a peaceful protest in 1970. Nine men and women who participated including the leader of the British Black Panther Movement are then wrongly arrested and charged with inciting a riot leading to a highly publicized trial.

The second film titled "Lovers Rock" tells a story of young love at a Blues party in 1980 and is an ode to the romantic reggae genre which the film is named after. The third film titled "Red, White and Blue" tells the true story of Leroy Logan, played by John Boyega, who becomes a police officer after seeing his father assaulted by two policemen. The fourth film in Small axe titled "Alex Wheatle" follows the true story of award-winning writer Alex Wheatle while the fifth and final film titled "Education" tells the coming of age story of 12 year-old Kingsley who is sent to a special needs school after being disruptive in class.

UK viewers will be able to watch a new film from the Small Axe series each week beginning on Friday, November 13 while US viewers will be able to do so beginning on Friday, November 20.

Whether you're a fan of Steve McQueen's past work including 12 Years a Slave or just want to learn more about the West Indian community in London during the 60s, 70s and 80s, we'll show you how to watch Small Axe from anywhere in the world.

Small Axe - When and where?

Steve McQueen's anthology film series will premiere in the UK on BBC One on Sunday, November 15 at 9pm GMT. In the US however, Small Axe will premiere on Amazon Prime Video five days later on Friday, November 20.

Watch Small Axe online from anywhere

We have all the details on how you can watch Small Axe in the U.S., Canada, UK and Australia further down in this guide. However, if you want to watch the all five films in the anthology series when you're away from home, then you'll likely run into problems as your domestic coverage online from abroad will be geo-blocked.

That's where one of the best VPNs (Virtual Private Network) can really come in handy. They allow you to virtually change the IP address of your laptop, tablet or mobile to one that's back in your home country which will let you watch as if you were back there.

VPNs are incredibly easy to use and have the added benefit of providing you with an additional layer of security when surfing the web. There are also a lot of options but we recommend ExpressVPN as our top pick due to its speed, security and ease of use. The service can even be used on a wide array of operating systems and devices (e.g. iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Fire TV Stick, Roku, game consoles, etc). Sign up for ExpressVPN now and enjoy a 49% discount and 3 months FREE with an annual subscription. You can even test it out for yourself thanks to the service's 30-day money back guarantee. Looking for more options?

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No matter where in the world you may be, a VPN is one of the easiest ways to watch Small Axe. Get in on this deal now!

How to watch Small Axe in the U.S.

If you live in the US and have an Amazon Prime subscription, you'll be able to watch the first film in Steve McQueen's Small Axe titled "Mangrove" on Amazon Prime on Friday, November 20. A new film from the anthology series will be released on a weekly basis every Friday from November 20 until December 18.

If you're not an Amazon Prime member yet though, the service costs either $119 for the year or $12.99 per month. In addition to being able to watch Small Axe, you can watch Prime's Amazon Originals including The Boys, Utopia, Homecoming, Tales from the Loop, Good Omens, The Man in the High Castle and others. You'll also get access to Prime Music, free two-day shipping on eligible items and more. Amazon currently offers a 30-day free trial to Prime so you can test out Prime Video for yourself to watch to watch Small Axe for free.

Live stream Small Axe in the UK for free

UK viewers will be able to watch the first film in the new anthology series Small axe for free on BBC One beginning on Friday, November 15 at 9pm GMT. A new film from the series will be released every week at the same time just like in the US, albeit a week earlier. You can also stream Small Axe online for free using BBC's iPlayer.

Watch Small Axe in Canada and Australia

Although Foxtel recently purchased the rights to show Small Axe in Australia, the network has not yet set a premiere date for the new anthology series. It's a different story in Canada where none of the country's broadcasters have yet purchased the rights to Small Axe. This means that if you want to watch Small Axe early in Canada or Australia, you'll need to grab a VPN and follow the instructions above to do so.

Anthony Spadafora