Pretty much every streaming service worth subscribing to has a Continue Watching list, designed to make it easy to resume a show or movie from exactly where you left off. And, with the glut of content now on offer, it's probably fair to say that most of us end up with a rather large list – one that's full of things we started watching but then never got back to. Sometimes that's because more exciting things have taken priority, but in at least some cases it's because we just didn't find that film or series engaging.
While most platforms let you remove those latter titles easily enough if you're using their web browser on a PC, not all of them let you do so on a smart TV, plug-in streaming device or game console (aka their "10ft" user interfaces).
After years of people begging for it, Netflix finally added one to its TV interface in early 2022, but it's the lesser-known platform of BritBox that, in my opinion, takes the prize for the best way to edit your Continue Watching list.
Sometime in the last few months, BritBox appears to have quietly updated its TV interface to add this feature, letting you subtly know (right there on the homepage) that you can simply "long press on an item to remove it from this row".
How does it work? Like it says on screen, just long-press on the tile of a show or movie you want removed right from the homepage using your remote's OK button (or equivalent) and it asks you for a confirmation. Select Remove and voila, you're back on the homepage. Repeat as often as necessary.
In comparison, Netflix's way to edit the Continue Watching list is a little bit more involved on a telly – you select the show or movie, then scroll down to and select Remove from Continue Watching. Then hit the back button again to go back to the homepage.
Sure, it's still relatively simple – but it's hardly intuitive and, like I said, is a little bit more involved. And I'll admit I'm nitpicking, but if a 'small' platform like BritBox can offer a feature so simple to use, why can't the gargantuan Netflix do the same?
Cleaning up shouldn't be a chore
To be fair to Netflix, my annoyance isn't targeted at them specifically; other streaming platforms are actually worse when it comes to offering a way to edit your Continue Watching list.
Take Disney Plus, for example. There's currently no way to actually remove anything from your Continue Watching list, even on the web browser interface. If you want to remove a movie, you'll have to fast forward to just short of the end and the automated recommendations come on-screen. If it's a show, then you need to play and fast forward the end of the last episode of the very last season.
Now, that is a chore! Amazon's Prime Video also has no easy way to edit the Continue Watching list.
Then again, Apple TV Plus offers something similar to BritBox, giving you the option to choose whether an episode should be removed from Up Next or marked as watched.
I'm not saying that every streaming platform needs to copy BritBox exactly, but most major platforms need better tools for subscribers to manage their Continue Watching lists. I'll even accept something a wee bit involved like Netflix, but surely most platforms now available have been established enough to at least offer a removal option?