The best series on BBC iPlayer worth watching right now

While iPlayer may not carry the extreme breadth of choice that Netflix does, it makes up for this lack of quantity in quality. Despite this, it wants to be more like Netflix and is introducing more boxsets that will stay on the service for up to a year.

Here we’ve compiled some of the strongest options the BBC has to offer, ranging from Phoebe Waller-Bridge blockbusters to lesser-known gems. That said, if nothing captures your imagination, try Netflix: here are our picks of the best documentaries on Netflix, the best films on Netflix UK and the best TV series on Netflix.

Mayans MC

Sons of Anarchy followed the hijinx of an outlaw biker gang based in a fictional town in California’s Central Valley. The show, which concluded in 2014, was a massive critical and commercial success, running for six seasons. Much like Better Call Saul, Mayans MC takes place in the same fictional universe as Sons of Anarchy, following the Sons’ rival gang – the Mayans Motorcycle Club.

Available until at least July 2020

War and Peace

The TV adaptation of Tolstoy’s masterpiece, set during the Napoleonic era and the French invasion of Russia. Starring Paul Dano, Lily James and James Norton, the central performances of this six part series have been widely acclaimed. The Telegraph included it on a list of its best television adaptations of all time, calling it the “greatest TV costume drama of the past decade.”

Available until June 2020

What We Do In The Shadows

The TV adaptation of Taika Waititi and Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords’ hilarious vampire comedy movie. The series, which features different actors – including Toast of London’s Matt Berry – but carries the same premise, follows four vampires who have lived together in Staten Island for hundreds of years, generally getting up to mischief and chilling out. Their dark lord leader returns and rebukes them for not following their original mission: taking over the world.

Available until at least July 2020

The Thick of It

The funniest British political satire of all time, it follows the employees who make up the fictitious Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship. The serious is famous for its spin doctor Malcolm Tucker, played by Peter Capaldi now of Doctor Who fame, a foul-mouthed, furious man who ruins the lives of anyone who gets in his way. (Tucker is supposedly based on Blair’s own spin doctor Alastair Campbell.)

Available until May 2020


Watch the show that kicked off fame for Phoebe Waller-Bridge, nominated this year for multiple Emmys. Fleabag follows a young, grief-stricken woman, played by Bridge, as she tries to pull her life together after a friend’s suicide. Using innovative storytelling techniques – Fleabag constantly breaks the fourth wall – the critically acclaimed second season sees the protagonist try to negotiate her terrible mother and her love for a hot priest.

Available until November 2020

Killing Eve

The second of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s critically acclaimed shows, this is her more outlandish creation, where she takes a writing role. We follow Eve (played by Sandra Oh), an initially bored, desk-bound MI5 spy who is tasked with tracking down a psychopathic and charismatic killer, Villanelle, played by Jodie Comer.

Available until at least July 2020


An ever reliable Attenborough-helmed nature doc – expect incredible images of animals and their habitats set to the soothing tones of Sir David. This instalment follows some of nature’s most famous, and endangered, animals: penguins, tigers, chimpanzees, lions and wolves. Watch as they struggle against rival animals, including the most dangerous of all, humans, to save ensure the survival of their “dynasties”.

Available until May 2020

House of Cards

No, not the American version starring the (now disgraced) Kevin Spacey, but the British original set after the reign of Margaret Thatcher. We follow anti-hero Francis Urquhart, chief whip of the Conservative Party. Played by leading Shakespearean actor, Ian Richardson, Urquhart concocts a machiavellian plan to become leader of the party, and thus Prime Minister. Sound familiar? Political scheming and intrigue abound!

Available until December 2019


Idris Elba, People magazine’s sexiest man alive 2018, stars in this dark and gripping detective thriller. Luther, in the vein of Netflix’s Hannibal, follows a brilliant but troubled detective who shares some of the dark impulses of the murderers he is hunting for. Luther’s London is ominous and lonely, home to creepy, clown mask wearing serial killers who cut down their victims on the 217 bus. After a four year gap we got season five this year, so you’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

Available until March 2020

Chasing the Moon

It’s been 50 years since humans first landed on the Moon, and so we’ve been inundated with moon related docs and shows – Apollo 11, 8 Days: To the Moon and Back and this, a more comprehensive six part series about the race between America and the USSR: following the first launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957 to Apollo 11, and the first man to set foot on the Moon, in 1969. The moon landing is one of mankind’s implausible achievements; you can’t really be bored by it.

Available until February 2020

Ricky Gervais’s follow up to the The Office draws on the same mixture of wit, sarcasm and melancholy that made that show such a hit. Gervais plays Andy Millman, an unhappy character similar to David Brent, who works as an actor but can only get parts as an extra. The show usually introduces a new massive celebrity each episode, like David Bowie, Orlando Bloom and Daniel Radcliffe, who play bizarre, gross parodies of themselves.

Available until May 2020

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