20 Best BBC iPlayer Shows Abroad [Free-Streaming]

  • Last updated May 13, 2024
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Are you hunting for the best BBC iPlayer shows Abroad to binge-watch this weekend? Look no further! Due to geo-restrictions, BBC iPlayer is only limited to the viewers in the UK, but I suggest subscribing to ExpressVPN to break the barriers and start streaming.

While using a VPN to unblock BBC iPlayer Abroad, remember that BBC iPlayer isn’t just for catching up on melancholic police dramas missed on terrestrial television (though there are plenty of crime dramas like ‘Vigil’ and ‘Blue Lights’ to enjoy). You can stream live TV, catch programs making their online premiere, and access various UK content.

So, if you’re looking for the best shows to watch on iPlayer, here I have compiled a list of some of the top BBC dramas you can enjoy!


What are the Best BBC iPlayer Shows Abroad to Watch Right Now?

If you reside outside UK and are trying to figure out what to watch on BBC iPlayer today, the platform offers endless possibilities for every mood and preference. Discover an array of award-winning BBC dramas available on BBC iPlayer. Explore diverse genres, from action and adventure to horror, comedy, and more, through entire seasons of classic shows accessible in the ‘categories’ archive.

If you are a viewer and don’t want to pay for a VPN, you can use the best free VPN outside UK for BBC iPlayer to unlock and enjoy the best shows on iPlayer. However, I recommend using the best BBC iPlayer VPN outside UK like ExpressVPN for a better streaming experience.

The curated list showcases the best BBC iPlayer shows Abroad. Let’s explore these brilliant BBC dramas I can’t wait to watch, but before you jump into the guide, get connected to the VPN!

EastEnders (1985 – Present)

east-enders

Director: Tony Holland

Cast: Adam Woodyatt, June Brown, Steve McFadden

No. of Episodes: 7548

Episode length: 30m

IMDb Rating: 4.7/10

EastEnders, the best iPlayer series and an iconic British soap opera unfolds in the fictional London borough of Walford, diving deep into the lives, dramas, and relationships of its diverse community. It revolves around the tumultuous lives of various families, capturing their trials, triumphs, and everyday struggles.

Filled with gripping storylines, intense emotions, and unexpected twists, it navigates through love, betrayal, family bonds, and societal issues, resonating with audiences for decades. Scroll down for more best BBC iPlayer shows.

Doctor Who (2005 – Present)

Dr-who-on-BBC-iPlayer

Director: Sydney Newman

Cast: Jodie Whittaker, Matt Smith, Jon Davey

No. of Episodes: 196

Episode length: 45m

IMDb Rating: 8.6/10

Doctor Who chronicles the escapades of the enigmatic Time Lord, known as “the Doctor,” who escaped their home planet of Gallifrey in a time-traveling TARDIS. This extraordinary vessel appears as a police box due to a malfunctioning disguise system.

With the ability to regenerate, the Doctor assumes various forms and faces persistent adversaries like the Daleks, Cybermen, and the Master. Earth’s fascination draws the Doctor to collaborate with UNIT and engage in thrilling adventures while thwarting looming threats.

Check out more details about Doctor Who: Wild Blue Yonder, Doctor Who: The Giggle, Doctor Who: The Star Beast, and Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials in VPNRanks detailed guides.

Happy Valley (2014 – 2023)

happy-valley

Director: Sally Wainwright

Cast: Sarah Lancashire, Shane Zaza, Siobhan Finneran

No. of Episodes: 18

Episode length: 58m

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

Happy Valley the best on iPlayer is a gripping crime drama that has captivated audiences with its intense storytelling and powerful performances.

The series stars Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood, a determined police sergeant in West Yorkshire who becomes embroiled in a personal vendetta against Tommy Lee Royce, played by James Norton, the man she believes is responsible for her daughter’s tragic death.

If you’re traveling outside UK and want to watch some thrilling shows, I think it is one of the best BBC iPlayer shows Abroad.

Time (2021 – Present)

time series on bbc iplayer

Director: Jimmy McGovern

Cast: Siobhan Finneran, Lisa Millett, Sean Bean

No. of Episodes: 6

Episode length: 59m

IMDb Rating: 8.2/10

Time is a hard-hitting drama that examines life inside the British penal system. The series stars Sean Bean as Mark Cobden, a man consumed by guilt and struggling to survive the harsh realities of prison life. Stephen Graham plays Eric McNally, a dedicated prison officer facing moral dilemmas inside and outside the prison walls.

I watched it, and according to me, it’s one of the best BBC iPlayer shows Abroad to watch with your family or friends.

Shetland (2013 – Present)

shetland-on-BBC-iplayer

Director: Jan Matthys

Cast: Alison O’Donnell, Erin Armstrong, Conor McCarry

No. of Episodes: 6

Episode length: 1h

IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

Shetland is a crime drama series that transports viewers to the remote and atmospheric Scottish archipelago. The show stars Douglas Henshall as Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, a thoughtful and meticulous investigator solving complex crimes against the stunning backdrop of the Shetland Islands.

The views alone make it one of the best BBC iPlayer series.

Woman in the Wall (2023)

woman-in-the-wall

Director: Joe Murtagh

Cast: Ruth Wilson, Philippa Dunne, Frances Tomelty

No. of Episodes: 6

Episode length: 57m

IMDb Rating: 7.2/10

The Woman in the Wall is a gripping six-part thriller BBC iPlayer best shows starring Ruth Wilson as Lorna Brady, a woman who discovers a corpse inside her home and has no recollection of the events leading up to this horrifying discovery.

Plagued by sleepwalking, Lorna’s reliability as a narrator is in question, and she’s caught in a web of suspicion when Detective Colman Akande, played by Daryl McCormack, investigates a separate death that might be connected. As Lorna’s past intertwines with Ireland’s dark history, the narrative reveals a haunting tale of guilt and institutional betrayal.

Annika (2023)

Annika

Director: Nick Walker

Cast: Nicola Walker, Kate Dickie, Jamie Sives

No. of Episodes: 12

Episode length: 15m

IMDb Rating: 7.2/10

Annika is a captivating crime drama series that transports viewers to the atmospheric setting of Scotland’s coastlines, where DI Annika Stranded, played by Nicola Walker, leads the Marine Homicide Unit.

Annika’s unorthodox methods and literary references give the show a unique spin on the typical crime procedural. The show is based on the acclaimed Radio 4 series and offers a fresh take on crime-solving.

Watch Annika outside UK, which is known as one of the best TV shows on iPlayer, using a VPN service!

Kin (2021)

kin

Director: Ciaran Donnelly

Cast: Charlie Cox, Emmett J Scanlan, Mark Mckenna Jr.

No. of Episodes: 16

Episode length: 50m

IMDb Rating: 7.7/10

Kin follows a Dublin crime family facing a seemingly impossible gangland war as their reserves and resources hit an all-time low. Will the importance of family triumph over the tide of betrayal and sin?

The series stars beloved actors such as Daredevil star Charlie Cox as recently-released Skinner family sibling Michael and Game of Thrones actor Aidan Gillen as the struggling Frank.

The drama boasts a bevy of Irish talent across the board – with the rest of the cast rounded out by Peaky Blinders star Emmett Scanlan, The Tudors actress Maria Doyle Kennedy, and the illustrious Ciaran Hinds. Unmissable. Lewis Knight. You may watch Kin series 1 outside UK as it is still available on BBC iPlayer.

The North Water (2021)

the-north-water

Director: Jack O’Connell

Cast: Colin Farrell, Gary Lamont, Stephen Graham

No. of Episodes: 5

Episode length: 1h

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

Hull in 1859, and Irish army surgeon Patrick Sumner boards the whaling ship Volunteer as its surgeon. Drama, starring Jack O’Connell and Stephen Graham.

Set in the 1800s, the show follows the crew of a whaling expedition that goes awry, focusing primarily on the barbaric Henry Drax (Farrell) and traumatized doctor Patrick Sumner (Jack O’Connell). It’s a brutal tale of survival, certainly not for the faint of heart.

Mayflies (2022)

mayflies

Director: Peter Mackie Burns

Cast: Tom Glynn-Carney, Mitchell Robertson, Rian Gordon

No. of Episodes: 2

Episode length: 58m

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

Andrea Gibb’s two-part adaptation of Andrew O’Hagan’s novel, starring Tony Curran and Martin Compston as old friends reunited 30 years after the greatest summer of their lives.

The story carries a devastating, somehow cleansing sadness while simultaneously celebrating the glory of friendship as a bond just as strong as romantic love.

Boiling Point (2023)

boiling-point-bbc-iplayer

Director: James Cummings

Cast: Vinette Robinson, Hannah Walters, Shaun Fagan

No. of Episodes: 4

Episode length: 60m

IMDb Rating: 7.9/10

Boiling Point, the four-part drama, continues the story from the film, focusing on Sous Chef Carly, who now takes charge as the Head Chef at her establishment, Point North. With several members of Andy’s original team by her side, Carly faces the daunting challenge of running her restaurant in the competitive London dining scene.

The weight of responsibility intensifies as Carly juggles the demands of her business with caring for her elderly and fragile mother, Vivian, adding personal challenges to her professional endeavors.

The Bold Type (2017)

The-Bold-Type

Director: Sarah Watson

Cast: Aisha Dee, Sam Page, Katie Stevens

No. of Episodes: 52

Episode length: 45m

IMDb Rating: 7.8/10

One of the best series on iPlayer I watched that combines the hustle of a high-powered New York setting with the heartfelt camaraderie of three best friends is The Bold Type. Following the lives of Jane, Kat, and Sutton, who work for a magazine reminiscent of Cosmopolitan, this show dives deep into their personal and professional challenges.

It celebrates ambitious women, friendship, and empowerment in the modern world. The Bold Type has finally found its way to the BBC, offering all five seasons for viewers who crave a blend of fashion, journalism, and drama.

Death in Paradise (2011 – Present)

death-in-paradise

Director: Robert Thorogood

Cast: Don Warrington, Ralf Little, Elizabeth Bourgine

No. of Episodes: 102

Episode length: 60m

IMDb Rating: 7.8/10

Death in Paradise begins with Detective Inspector Richard Poole, sent from London’s Metropolitan Police, investigating a fellow British officer’s murder on Saint Marie, a picturesque yet quirky Caribbean island.

For the viewers, I promise you won’t forget the stellar scenery, making it one of the best BBC iPlayer shows Abroad.

Other detectives also take over temporarily, eventually embracing the island lifestyle. The series chronicles each DI’s unique quirks, professional adeptness, and personal growth within the enchanting yet murder-prone paradise of Saint Marie. Recently BBC iPlayer aired Death in Paradise Christmas special to watch this season from anywhere outside UK.

Vigil (2021-Present)

vigil

Director: Tom Edge

Cast: Suranne Jones, Romola Garai, Rose Leslie

No. of Episodes: 12

Episode length: 60m

IMDb Rating: 7.4/10

This one leads the lineup for best BBC iPlayer TV shows and series.

Vigil is a high-stakes thriller that takes viewers into the secretive and dangerous world of a Royal Navy submarine. The series stars Suranne Jones as Detective Chief Inspector Amy Silva, tasked with investigating a mysterious death on board the submarine HMS Vigil. As the investigation unfolds, Silva uncovers a web of espionage, conspiracy, and conflict, both at sea and on land.

The Sixth Commandment (2023)

the-sixth-commandment

Director: Saul Dibb

Cast: Conor MacNeill, Amanda Root, Anne Reid

No. of Episodes: 4

Episode length: 57m

IMDb Rating: 7.8/10

The Sixth Commandment is a gripping four-part drama that delves into the harrowing true story of the murders of Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin. The elderly pair, living in the same village, fell victim to the manipulative and sinister Ben Field.

Timothy Spall delivers a heart-wrenching performance as Peter, a deeply religious and respected academic, becomes overwhelmed when Ben enters his life as a student. As their relationship develops, Peter’s life spirals out of control, leading to tragic events.

The narrative not only keeps viewers on the edge of their seats but also pays tribute to the victims’ memories, ensuring that their stories are not forgotten. Do check more details on The Sixth Commandment in our detailed guide for UK streamers.

Blue Lights (2023)

blue-lights-bbc-iplayer

Director: Gilles Bannier

Cast: Nathan Braniff, Martin McCann, Dane Whyte O’Hara

No. of Episodes: 7

Episode length: 60m

IMDb Rating: 8.1/10

The television series follows 3 probationary Police Service of Northern Ireland officers posted to the fictional Blackthorn Station in Belfast.

Grace, one of the new cops, is a mother in her forties who left her profession as a social worker to join the Police Service, but after just a few weeks, she doubts if she made the right decision. She took a big risk by quitting her stable job as a social worker to seek a career in police enforcement.

With the odds stacked against them, the likelihood of one failing the probation period looms large. Adding to the tension is the inherent danger of being a police officer in Belfast, intensifying the stakes for this trio.

Call the Midwife (2012 – Present)

call-the-midwife

Director: Heidi Thomas

Cast: Jenny Agutter, Stephen McGann, Helen George

No. of Episodes: 114

Episode length: 60m

IMDb Rating: 8.1/10

The story is based on the memoirs written by Jennifer Worth and tells the tale of Jenny, a young woman who, at 22, leaves her stable family in 1957 to begin a career as a midwife in the East End of London.

The news that she would be residing in Nonnatus House, a convent, is a complete shock to her. Jenny gets her eyes opened to the horrible living circumstances of the slums while she is working alongside other nurses as well as the medically expert nuns.

Silent Witness (1996 – Present)

silent-witness

Director: Thaddeus O’Sullivan

Cast: Emilia Fox, William Gaminara, Liz Carr

No. of Episodes: 248

Episode length: 60m

IMDb Rating: 7.9/10

The show tracks the experiences of three rookie police officers in the Police Service of Northern Ireland as they commence their probationary period at the fictional Blackthorn Station in Belfast.

However, mere weeks into her new role, she doubts her choice. Additionally, the series sheds light on the challenges faced by fellow probationers Annie (Devlin) and Tommy (Braniff), both of whom find themselves overwhelmed by the immense demands of the job.

Season 27 of this show will be released next year, so catch up ASAP!

Waterloo Road (2006-2023)

waterloo-road

Director: Ann McManus

Cast: Philip Martin Brown, Denise Welch, Jason Done

No. of Episodes: 224

Episode length: 53m

IMDb Rating: 7.1/10

Waterloo Road is one of the best BBC shows. This series centers on the lives of teachers, students, and staff at Waterloo Road Comprehensive School.

Set in the fictional town of Rochdale, the show delves into the challenges faced within the school environment, addressing issues ranging from personal struggles to societal problems. The series navigates various storylines involving the students’ lives, including their relationships, academic aspirations, family dynamics, and social issues such as bullying.

Great Expectations (2023)

great-expectations-bbc-iplayer

Director: Ann McManus

Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Johnny Harris, Owen McDonnell

No. of Episodes: 6

Episode length: 58m

IMDb Rating: 5.3/10

Great Expectations, brought to the screen by Steven Knight, is a chilling reimagining of Charles Dickens’s classic novel. Starring an ensemble cast led by Olivia Colman, the series follows the life of Pip, an orphan whose encounter with the enigmatic Miss Havisham sets him on a path fraught with challenges and moral dilemmas.

This adaptation veers from the traditional narrative, incorporating unexpected plot twists that might surprise even the most ardent Dickens fans. For those seeking a bold and atmospheric adaptation of a literary classic, “Great Expectations” offers a dark and brooding take on Dickens’ work.

Did you know that with ExpressVPN, you can enjoy these shows on Android, Chromecast, and Apple TV  outside UK as well? Get your subscription today!


BBC iPlayer regularly updates its content library with exciting iPlayer top shows and series. Here are some of the hottest and best BBC iPlayer shows Abroad so far to look out for:


Check out These BBC iPlayer Guides on VPNRanks


Wrap Up

For people who are residing outside UK territories, the list above is of the best BBC iPlayer shows Abroad right now. These are worth your time, and you can watch them on the go when you look for the best dramas on iPlayer.

All the must-see shows are on iPlayer. And these can be streamed without hiccups on any device with ExpressVPN.


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