The best TV shows to watch on BBC iPlayer

From BBC3 series to the best drama and comedy box sets available online – discover what you've been missing on BBC iPlayer

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 26/11/2019 - Programme Name: Elizabeth Is Missing - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Maud (GLENDA JACKSON) - (C) STV Productions - Photographer: Mark Mainz

BBC iPlayer is so much more than a catch-up service.


While the BBC website was once just a helpful place to catch up with that show you missed at the weekend, iPlayer is now a streaming service in its own right, attempting to keep pace with US media giants like Netflix and Amazon.

In short, it’s home to some of the best British TV available to watch online.

Whether you’re a fan of drama box sets such as Luther and Bodyguard, classic comedies like Extras and This Country, or archive documentaries by David Attenborough and Louis Theroux, there’s a lot to offer on iPlayer.

The BBC is also planning to make iPlayer even more useful for viewers, with the possibility that all shows will be made available to watch online for an entire year.

So, what’s currently available to watch? Check out our regularly updated picks of the best TV shows to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Elizabeth is Missing

Academy Award winner Glenda Jackson returns to British television for this feature length drama, which sees an elderly woman searching for her missing friend while contending with her own dementia. Watch on BBC iPlayer

Jonathan Pie: Back to the Studio

This stand-up set from faux news correspondent Jonathan Pie is more of the furious political satire that he has become known for. The character is portrayed by comedian Tom Walker and first broke out online with a number of viral videos. Watch on BBC iPlayer


This groundbreaking series comes from producer Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story) and depicts New York City’s LGBTQ ballroom culture scene during the 1980s and 90s. Two seasons are available on iPlayer, both of which have been critically acclaimed, with a third one on the way. Watch on BBC iPlayer


This thriller is split across the cities of London and Tokyo as a single murder has devastating effects for people in both. Giri/Haji (which translates to Duty/Shame) comes from writer Joe Barton (Humans) with Kelly MacDonald (Boardwalk Empire) and Japanese actor Takehiro Hira in the leading roles. Watch on BBC iPlayer

The War of the Worlds

The first instalment in the BBC’s three-part adaptation of HG Wells’s classic sci-fi story is now available on iPlayer. The much-anticipated series stars Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark) and Rafe Spall (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom). Watch on BBC iPlayer

His Dark Materials

The BBC’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s sweeping fantasy epic is an absolute delight. Dafne Keen (Logan) takes the lead role of Lyra Belacqua, a mischievous young girl intent on rescuing her kidnapped friend. Watch on BBC iPlayer


Liam Williams is behind this coming-of-age comedy series, where he uncovers the roots of modern day masculinity by going back to his own adolescent years. Watch on BBC iPlayer

Dublin Murders

This dark crime drama based on the novels by Tana French is set in 2006, when detectives Rob Reilly and Cassie Maddox are sent to investigate a child’s murder and find a community split between the old Ireland and the new. Watch on BBC iPlayer

Seven Worlds, One Planet

You can never go wrong with a David Attenborough nature documentary, with this latest series just as jaw dropping as the last. Each episode explores another of Earth’s distinct continents and the life that inhabits it, providing some fascinating information and capturing numerous incredible moments. Watch on BBC iPlayer

Plastic Surgery Undressed

This series gathers a group of people who are considering getting cosmetic surgery and gives them information about exactly what their desired procedure involves. This includes advice from medical professionals and previous patients, culminating with them watching the procedure live as it is performed at a nearby hospital. Those interested in getting cosmetic surgery may find this programme helpful when deciding whether to go ahead with it. Watch on BBC iPlayer

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK

Gentlemen, start your engines, and may the best UK queen win: the British edition of the beloved US star’s reality competition show – which sees drag queens compete against one another in an array of weekly challenges – is here… Watch on BBC iPlayer


Series 1-5

Idris Elba stars as London’s slickest – and most maverick – detective as he races around the city solving crimes fit for a horror movie. Watch Luther on BBC iPlayer

The Capture

This critically acclaimed six-part drama sees a soldier (played by Callum Turner) come under suspicion from a detective inspector (Holliday Grainger) after CCTV footage links him to the assault and kidnapping of a young woman. Watch on BBC iPlayer

Peaky Blinders

Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) is back in the fifth series of the brilliant crime drama set in 1920s Birmingham. New episodes will be available each Sunday night… Watch on BBC iPlayer


Dramatised natural history series featuring a cast of real animals interacting on the African savannah, narrated by Star Wars actor John Boyega. Watch on BBC iPlayer

This Country

Series 1-2

A Bafta-winning mockumentary about life in the Cotswolds for two feckless cousins Kerry and Kurtan, created by and starring siblings Daisy May and Charlie Cooper. Watch This Country on BBC iPlayer

Killing Eve

Series 1 & 2

Jodie Comer’s Villanelle and Sandra Oh’s Eve are caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse in this sharp, witty and gruesome thriller, which has been renewed for a third seasonWatch Killing Eve on BBC iPlayer

The Mighty Boosh

Series 1-3

Step into the strange, musical, mad world of Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt. Watch The Mighty Boosh on BBC iPlayer


Series 1-2

Psychological thriller that delves inside a gang of whip smart, complicated and ambitious young people at a university. Watch Clique on BBC iPlayer

Frozen Planet

Series 1


David Attenborough’s iconic nature documentary from 2011 heads to the coldest corners of the earth and explores the wildlife that survives there. Watch Frozen Planet on BBC iPlayer