As if saying goodbye to family and friends wasn’t tough enough, leaving my home country for Singapore also meant that I had to say ‘see ya!’ to my favourite TV shows (which, let’s be honest, I spent more time with than my pals anyway). I cancelled the series links, forgot the plots and prepared to watch a lot of Keeping Up With The Kardashians (I’d heard the only half-decent channel in Singers was E!).
And, sure, I got really into Kim’s selfies, Khloe’s drama and Kourtney’s apparent dislike for the world, but I began to miss the shows that reminded me of home. Until one fine day, when I heard the girls at work discussing the latest episode of House of Cards on Netflix. ‘WOAH’, I said. ‘Netflix doesn’t work in Singapore – what is this television sorcery you speak of?’
Yeah, so it turned out that you can definitely watch your fave shows from home – you simply need a VPN! ‘But what is this mysterious VPN?’, I hear you ask in my mind. In simple terms, it’s techie wizardry that fools the internet into thinking that your laptop is in another country, and so unlocks the websites you wouldn’t normally be able to access in Singapore. Beautiful.
How do you go about setting up a VPN that unlocks a whole world of international television? I’ll tell you – with ViewQwest and their magical Freedom VPN. When you subscribe to their fibre broadband (i.e. your internet at home), you can unleash telly programmes from across the globe. These guys offer the snazziest VPN service, because it streams in HD and you can watch different shows from different countries at the same time (me on the iPad with Downton Abbey, while my other half watches football on the big screen!). More on the set-up below.
To demonstrate how much Freedom VPN has changed our relationship with the goggle box, here are the beloved shows the EL team have been reunited with (and what we’d do if someone took them away again!)…
Rachael Wheeler, Online Editor
A great TV show I stream online: Made In Chelsea, UK – Channel 4
Why I ruddy love it: Posh voices, cat fights, ridiculous love triangles, fabulous hair and insanely expensive lifestyles that I’d otherwise never get to experience. It also films through a massively filtered lens that makes London look wistfully glorious.
What I’d do without it: The thought of not being able to watch Spencer swaggering about and rogering everyone else’s girlfriends (before lying about it with a hurt frown) is unbearable. I’d have to let Lucy scratch my eyes out, because sight wouldn’t be worth it anymore.
Natalie Whittell, Brand Communications Manager
A great TV show I stream online: Masterchef, UK – BBC
Why I ruddy love it: I love staring at food, watching the stress get to the contestants, Gregg Wallace’s love of dessert, the spectacle of amateur chefs using liquid nitrogen (similar to an episode of Breaking Bad – which incidentally, is also an excellent show to stream) and the bizarre combinations of ingredients (who knew whiskey, honey and fish went? Oh wait, it doesn’t.). And the music! An eclectic range that is occasionally muted, so that the beat is momentarily replaced with an in-time ‘chop’ of the knife. Sublime.
What I’d do without it: Probably stick my hands in liquid nitrogen as I wouldn’t need them for recreating the recipes from Masterchef.
Rebecca Bisset, Editor in Chief
A great TV show I stream online: Game of Thrones
Why I ruddy love it: You can get really into the whole ‘Winter Is Coming’ thing and hunky bodies and hammer three or four episodes in a row online – forget waiting for the next one like telly. Watching it on my laptop also means that I don’t have to worry about the rude parts (there’s a lot) with children around!
What I’d do without it: I have to watch GOT online – I’m over switching the TV on to find repeats of the same shows – plus the channels play the same show previews over and over again.
Amy Brook-Partridge, Editor, Home & Property
A great TV show I stream online: Sherlock – BBC
Why I ruddy love it: Just as when I watch Harry Potter or any Richard Curtis movie, watching Sherlock reminds me of home (or how I would like home to be, minus some wizards and owls maybe). Plus, Benedict Cumberbatch is a geeky freaky hottie.
What I’d do without it: Buy my husband a pipe, violin and deerstalker hat and make him wear it all weekend. To be fair I don’t think he’d mind.
Leanda Rathmell, Client Services Manager
A great TV show I stream online: Come Dine with Me – Channel 4
Why I ruddy love it: The cringe factor of watching middle-aged intellectuals interact with a lewd degenerates over soggy risotto. Not to mention the hilarious commentary and odd decent recipe ideas I get out of it here and there.
What I’d do without it: I’d have to find some other way to fill my evenings which may mean buying a camcorder and posting a ‘Come Dine with Me’ invite on Craigslist. That can only end badly.
Amy Greenburg, Editor, Arts & Leisure, Health & Fitness
A great TV show I stream online: Orange is the New Black – Netflix
Why I ruddy love it: A sweet, relatable, girl-next-door type from New York City gets sentenced to prison, thanks to her drug smuggling, female ex-lover who sells her out. Between all the dark humour, laugh-out-loud one-liners, cultural references and crazy clash of unique characters, what’s not to love?
What I’d do without it: I’d sulk if I couldn’t get my fix of the massively popular, binge-worthy hit show that everyone’s talking about these days. Let’s be honest – I’d probably find myself in my own orange jumpsuit if I were denied access to the entertaining plot twists, Emmy-worthy performances and prison catfights that make up the genius show.
A great TV show I stream online: Doctor Who – BBC
Why I ruddy love it: What’s not to love about a mad Time Lord (aka Time Traveller) that travels in a blue telephone box? Like, hello! The spaceship is bigger on the inside than the outside – how cool can you get?). The special effects are superb, there are adventures with aliens and the Daleks are cute (okay… that’s debatable). It’s basically a fun way of being introduced to history and science. Best show ever.
What I’d do without it: I can’t even think about not being able to catch this online once it’s been showed on TV in the UK. The spoilers online kill the excitement – I have to stay up to date. Also, by the time the Christmas special hits Singapore, it’s March! Unacceptable.
Want to get started?
To use Freedom VPN, you need to subscribe to one of ViewQwest’s fibre broadband bundles, which start at $65 a month and give you super fast streaming in HD. If you sign up, you get Freedom VPN free for three months, and thereafter it’s $10.70 a month. You don’t have to do anything tricky and technical – once the chaps have come over to set up your fibre internet line, your modem will be activated and websites galore will be unleashed. Want to see just how many sites across the world that you will be able to automatically connect to, with no fiddling at all? Check out the full list of supported sites and countries here.