Classic drama comes to iPlayer: BBC to stream Pride and Prejudice, House of Cards and more for free online

Quartermass and the Pit, the show that helped inspire Doctor Who, also joins the line-up of classic BBC TV series available on BBC iPlayer

Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in the BBC's classic Pride and Prejudice (BBC)

Pride and Prejudice, House of Cards, North and South and many, many more classic BBC dramas will now be available to watch online on BBC iPlayer.

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A whole host of major BBC TV series and adaptations will be free to stream on iPlayer for the first time as part of the BBC’s new ‘From the Archive’ collection.

Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle’s famous performances in Pride and Prejudice as Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett lead the classic drama line-up, along with the original 1990 TV version of House of Cards starring Ian Richardson.

BBC1’s 2004 adaptation of North and South starring The Hobbit’s Richard Armitage will also be brought back on BBC iPlayer.

Other series set to be added to the online video service range from Judi Dench’s Bafta-winning performance in 1966 series Talking to a Stranger to 1958 sci-fi Quartermass and the Pit, said to be a major inspiration for the original creators of Doctor Who.

All the new dramas arrive as part of the BBC’s new ‘From the Archive‘ collection on iPlayer, which already include documentary series from the likes of David Attenborough and Louis Theroux as well as whole comedy and drama box sets.

Classic TV dramas on BBC iPlayer – the full list

Pride and Prejudice (1995) Andrew Davies’ adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle – featuring that lake scene.

House of Cards (1990) The original TV adaptation of Michael Dobbs’ best-selling satire about the corrupt world of British party politics. The series inspired Netflix’s blockbuster series starring Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey. 

North and South (2004) Four-part adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s passionate tale, starring Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage.

Talking to a Stranger (1966) Judi Dench won a Bafta for her role in this four-part drama about a tragic weekend that befalls an ordinary suburban family. 

Quatermass and the Pit (1958) The thrilling sci-fi about a team of scientists who discover a mysterious capsule has inspired legions of sci-fi writers, from the producers of Doctor Who to author Stephen King. 

The War Game (1985) Peter Watkins’ Academy Award-winning drama-documentary about an imagined 1965 nuclear attack on Kent. Although originally made for the BBC in 1965, the film deemed too shocking for TV and was banned from broadcast for 20 years. The War Game finally aired in 1985.

Mrs Patterson (1956) The oldest drama in the collection, the film depicts race and adolescence set in the Deep South of America around 1920, written by African-American painter-playwright Charles Sebree and Greer Johnson.

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Nuts in May (1975) Mike Leigh created and directed this comedy drama about camping holidays and all the hazards involved.