BBC needs no further introduction. It is one of the leading TV networks in the world producing some of the best programs with splendid British quality. This is an article that will show you how you can watch BBC abroad.

There is no wonder why people love BBC programs and shows so much. BBC  is an amazing channel giving you the chance to watch a whole selection of programs and TV channels online, but I guess you know that. After all, you are here to find out how to watch BBC from abroad.

This article is updated regularly, meaning that it should be up to date on methods working for the purpose of accessing BBC iPlayer from abroad. BBC is blocking lots of VPN services and providers, but the methods mentioned here should still be working.

When you try to watch BBC from abroad

Whenever you are located outside of the United Kingdom and try to watch BBC  live or some program on demand you will see an error message quite similar to the following screenshot.

BBC iPlayer unavailable from abroad
Error message as you try to watch BBC from abroad: This content doesn't seem to be working.
Error message as you try to watch BBC from abroad: This content doesn’t seem to be working.
Error message as you stream BBC from abroad summer of 2017
Error message as you stream BBC from abroad summer of 2017

The error message tells us that BBC  TV programs are available only for people in the UK. Hence they advise you to go listen to BBC radio instead as the video streams are unavailable. That can be cool, but if you want to watch Luther, maybe a sports event or maybe Sherlock then the radio advice will not bring much happiness to you. What can you do to bypass this screen and start watching instead?

Watch the BBC from outside the UK

To watch the BBC  you need to make the Internet believe that you are located in the UK. The way of making that impression is by getting a local UK IP address. Once you have such an “address” the Internet and all websites will believe that you are located in the UK, hence all regulations telling you that this is only available to people in the UK will disappear and you will be free to watch BBC and other similar TV channels online within seconds.

It might sound technical, but acquiring an IP address in England is really simple. All you need to do is to sign up for a cheap subscription to a so-called VPN provider with servers in the UK. My personal favorites for this purpose are  PureVPN and ExpressVPN. Both VPN providers have great prices and great speeds on their British servers.

After signing up for their services you can download their VPN client. With this, you can connect to one of their servers in the UK which will give you a UK IP address. Once connected all geographical blocks will dissolve and you can freely enjoy all UK content online from wherever you are in the world.

Watch the BBC abroad in 4 steps

Ready to start? Follow these four steps and you can watch BBC online in a few minutes.

  1. Visit the website of either ExpressVPN or PureVPN and make a subscription.
    (PureVPN has a 31-day full refund policy, while ExpressVPN has a 30-day full refund policy)
  2. Make a subscription for either 1 month, 6 months or 12 months.
  3. Download the free VPN client and connect to a server in the UK.
  4. Restart your browser and visit the BBC website.
  5. Create a BBC account (if you do not have one yet). Make sure to register it with a UK ZIP code (N16 1EF , N16 1DZ)
  6. Once registered you will be ready to stream BBC online from abroad!

Ready to watch BBC from abroad? Go ahead and watch as you follow the above instructions.

What if I want to watch BBC abroad on Android and iOS devices?

You will have to follow the same steps as above. You should purchase a VPN subscription to either PureVPN or ExpressVPN and download their VPN client. Once this is done, you need to download the BBC iPlayer application to your device. How can it be done?

BBC iPlayer for Android devices

If you own an Android device, download the BBC iPlayer application manually from here. After you have downloaded it, you might be warned about installing programs from unknown sources. You just have to accept the warnings and allow the installation. Sometimes, you will also have to install the BBC Media Player application. If that is required, install this as well (it can be found in the Google Play Store).

BBC iPlayer for iOS devices

You cannot download the application manually on your iOS system, so if you cannot find it in the Apple Store, this is what you will have to do.

  • Use PureVPN to get an IP address in the UK.
  • Go to and create a brand new Apple ID.
  • Register it with an address in the UK and ZIP code in the UK.
  • When the ID is finished, use the brand new ID on your Apple device and use this as your default ID for the Apple Content (Apple Store).
  • Search for BBC iPlayer in the Apple Store and download the application.
  • Log in with your BBC iPlayer user in the application (while PureVPN is running).
  • Stream BBC iPlayer abroad on your iOS device.
  • After you have downloaded the BBC iPlayer app, feel free to return and use your normal Apple ID once again for the Apple Store.
Sherlock on BBC iPlayer

You can watch BBC online on the BBC website or using BBC iPlayer. The method described here will work for both options, so go ahead and follow the instructions if you want to watch BBC online from outside the UK.

Watching the One Love Manchester show on BBC
Watching the One Love Manchester show on BBC

This method is also ideal if you want to watch big sports events online broadcasted by BBC (and ITV). Examples of such sports events are European Championships and World Cups in football, Summer Olympics, Winter Olympics, and much more.

12 thoughts on “How to watch BBC abroad?”

  1. Thanks for keeping this article updated. I just follow the instructions, including registering a UK BBC user and using ExpressVPN, and was fully able to stream BBC in Hungary. Thanks a lot!

  2. BBC iPlayer is one of the most incredible videos streaming website. But now people are facing the issue regarding BBC iPlayer is that you can’t access it outside the UK. It can easily be accessible only by using VPN. But the question is that which VPN is good and which really works to access BBC iPlayer and also secure your online activities?
    After reading the article in Reviewsdir got the solution as ExpressVPN is the best VPN to access the BBC iPlayer and also able to protect online activities. Now I can access BBCiPlayer anywhere without any issue.

    1. Thanks for your comment Ryan, and glad to hear that you are able to access BBC outside the UK using ExpressVPN! 🙂

  3. Found lots of outdated articles on streaming BBC abroad, but thanks for keeping this up to date, even including the new registration stuff required by BBC.

  4. I feel quite alone among Englishmen, but I am a big fan of winter sports and wonder if I can watch the Winter Olympics on BBC? Is it easy? How does it work?

    1. Hello! BBC will broadcast the Winter Olympics in the United Kingdom, but they will not show all the action all the time. If you want to stream all the content, it is not enough to watch the official BBC channels, but you have to visit the BBC Olympics website and stream the content you are interested there. In other words, the content is available online, but not on the normal BBC TV channels. You can find the BBC Winter Olympics website here. And do not forget to follow the instructions in this article to watch BBC abroad.

  5. How can I stream the FIFA World Cup on my Android phone? Will I find the matches and the live streams in the normal BBC app, or will I need some other application? Does the method described here still work?

    1. Thanks for asking! I don’t know exactly what it will be like yet, but my guess is that you just need the normal BBC application to stream the matches online. I will update the article and website as the FIFA World Cup approaches (or on the opening day). The method described still works, so it is a perfect solution if you want to watch the FIFA World Cup on BBC… And yes, you can use the same method to stream it the other matches aired on ITV as well!

  6. I have just updated the design of this guide, making sure that it will become even easier to read and understand how you can watch BBC from abroad… The instructions are of course up to date, meaning that you can just read and follow the instructions to find out how you can stream BBC wherever you might be in the world!

  7. Unfortunately, the idiots running BBC have now BLOCKED even legitimate Licence Holders like myself from watching any BBC TV from abroad using my Express VPN.

    1. I just tried ExpressVPN with BBC, and it worked perfectly! I hope you have had greater success since then! 🙂

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