The BBC player is a free British streaming service that is part of the well-known broadcasting company, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). It offers great programming from the various BBC channels. The service is free to residents of the UK, providing you have paid for a TV license. Of course, there is no subscription fee, nor is there a limit on how much you can watch a month. In this BBC iPlayer review, we’ll talk more about the service to help you see if you want to use it.
The BBC iPlayer was launched in 2007 as a cross-platform, Flash video streaming system. Then, the service allowed you to catch up on the last 7 days of your favorite shows and radio programs. If you wanted to watch or listen to content that had been out longer than a week, you were out of luck (with a few exceptions). Currently, one of the most popular shows on the service is called Poldark, but there are many others that are quality.
As we mentioned, there are many different channels you can choose programs from. Those include BBC 1-4, radio 1, CBBC, CBeebies, BBC News, BBC Parliament, BBC Alba, S4C, and more. With all of those options, it is not hard to see why some of the programming is so popular. Many of the shows featured are iconic.
Currently, all subscribers must be located within the UK. If you are traveling outside of the UK, you would need to connect to a VPN first before attempting to watch.
BBC iPlayer Top Shows
Though we mentioned one of these series earlier, we’ll take a closer look at some of them. Because of the multiple channels, we won’t be able to list them all. However, there are certainly some shows worth watching. Here are our favorites.
- Poldark – Launched in 2015, this British-American drama TV series is currently still running. The show follows Ross Poldark, an 18th-century British soldier that returns to his Cornish copper mines after spending 3 years in the army to avoid smuggling charges.
- EastEnders – One of the longest running British soap operas in history. This great offering began in 1985, and it is still going strong. It was made to compete with another famous British soap opera, Coronation Street. Initially, it was not known if British fans would accept a show set in the south of London.
- Casualty – The longest running TV emergency medical drama in the world. Launched in 1986, the show celebrated its 1000th episode in June 2016. The show is set in the fictional Holby City Hospital and focuses on staff and patients of the emergency room department. The show is shown on Saturday night and has been there since the early 1990s.
- Wild Alaska Live – Following the trend of America, this brand new series shows various animals from the state of Alaska in the US. It shows the beauty and natural surroundings of the area. If you like nature shows and have a love for a part of the world you may have never seen, this is the show for you. The show is 60 minutes long.
- Top of the Lake – This mystery drama TV series originally aired in the US in 2013. It is co-produced by the BBC and deals with the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old girl in New Zealand. The show is wildly popular and quite well done. Though it was only supposed to last 2 seasons, it has gone on longer.
- Who Do You Think You Are? – a British genealogy documentary series that first aired in 2004. In each episode, a celebrity traces the roots of their family tree. When it was launched, it was the highest rating program of 2004. It is currently narrated by the actor Phil Davis.
- Stacey Dooley Investigates – Journalist Stacey Dooley investigates different hard hitting topics. This news magazine style show first aired in 2009. Many love the show because she discusses issues that are not usually discussed in public. If you enjoy watching these types of shows, this is one you won’t want to miss out on.
The list we just gave does not even scratch the surface of everything available on BBC iPlayer.
Devices Supported by BBC iPlayer
As you can see, the service is available on many different TVs, set top boxes, and game consoles. Those include Amazon Fire TV, Roku, PlayStation, Android, iOS, and many more. For a complete list, be sure to check their website.
Here is the small list of pros and cons of the service.
- Free to watch
- Content from many different BBC channels
- Only available in the UK
- Only the most recent episodes of a show are available.
As we wrap up this review of BBC iPlayer, we can clearly see all the great programming available on the service. The BBC stated several years ago that they are already aware of their “global audience”. It was estimated that 65 million viewers watch the service outside of the UK. With the great shows available, it is not hard to see why.