Television and online streaming services have been the saviours of the lockdown period, and we don’t know where we’d be without them. Everyone is spending a lot more time indoors, so there’s no better excuse to catch up on your favourite programmes or find something new to watch. Luckily, the BBC has an extensive catalogue of shows to choose from, ranging from drama to more light-hearted comedy and films. Their streaming platform, BBC iPlayer, hosts a backlog of new episodes and series’, alongside a plethora of boxsets to get your teeth stuck into. Here are 10 of the best programmes you can watch on the BBC right now!
If you haven’t heard about Normal People yet, where have you been? Based on the best-selling book by Sally Rooney, Normal People follows the relationship between the main protagonists Marianne Sheridan (played by Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell Waldron (played by Paul Mescal) through their time at secondary school and later, university. The series is set in Ireland and has 12 episodes, however, it is recommended that you read the book first!
Killing Eve has been a big success for the BBC since it first arrived on the iPlayer in 2018. The premise of the show surrounds the story of two women: British intelligence investigator Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). The spy-drama currently has three series; it has already been renewed for a fourth, although there could be delays due to the coronavirus. If you love a bit of tension and a good cliffhanger, Killing Eve should definitely be on your watch list.
The A word
Offering a slightly different vibe to Killing Eve, the A word is a programme that explores Autism and how it affects members of a family group. In series one, five-year-old Joe Hughes (Max Vento) begins showing signs of communication issues, and the rest of the episodes delve into how the situation is dealt with by the rest of the people who are closest to him. The A word currently has three series’, with rest of the third series now being shown live on the BBC on Tuesday’s at 9 pm.
The Great British Sewing Bee
The name of The Great British Sewing Bee is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re a lover of its sister show, The Great British Bake-off, then you might recognise the structure of this series. The Great British Sewing Bee begins with ten amateur sewers, with one person being eliminated each week until someone ultimately gains the winning title. In every episode, the sewer must complete three challenges to stay in the running: The Pattern Challenge, the Alteration Challenge and the Made-to-Measure Challenge. Even if you don’t think yourself to be a lover of sewing, make sure to tune into The Great British Sewing Bee on Wednesday nights at 8 pm!
Hospital: Fighting COVID-19
Everyone is sick of hearing about the coronavirus by now. Yet, Hospital: Fighting COVID-19 special is a recommended watch if you want to learn more about the incredible work of the NHS during these difficult times. The documentary follows the staff at the Royal Free London Hospital during the epidemic and shows how they fought against its peak in two hour-long episodes. You can watch the documentary, along with previous instalments of the Hospital series on BBC iPlayer now.
Darkest Hour is an award-winning film directed by Joe Wright. The movie is set in 1940s Britain and details the story of Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) and his time as Prime Minister at the height of the Second World War. Released in the UK in 2018, Darkest Hour is one of the best WW2 films produced in recent years, and it will leave you gripped throughout the entirety. If you’re looking for something to watch during your next movie night, Darkest Hour is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer now.
Little Britain is a well-known classic British comedy, however, it’s one that maybe shouldn’t be watched in the company of your parents. David Walliams and Matt Lucas star in this hit series disguised as a selection of different characters, which have grown to be well-loved throughout the years. The format of the show involves a variety of short sketches, and each episode is only half an hour-long, making it the perfect watch if you have a short attention span. The complete first series is ready to view on the BBC iPlayer.
Louis Theroux: America’s Most Dangerous Pets
We can all agree that Louis Theroux is a national treasure. His documentaries are some of the most interesting out there and cover a wide range of weird and unusual topics. In this particular documentary, Louis pays a visit to Joe Exotic, the ‘Tiger King’ (if you haven’t already seen Tiger King on Netflix, you should watch that too!) However, this instalment was filmed back in 2011, before Joe Exotic went to jail. If you’ve had enough of the Tiger King, there are plenty of other Louis Theroux documentaries available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.
Ahh, another classic programme. Waterloo Road was the pinnacle of prime time entertainment when it was shown on BBC 1 back in the day, and now all episodes are available to watch on BBC iPlayer. Waterloo Road is about a fictional school with the same name and follows all the dramas and tribulations of its teachers and pupils. The programme ran for 10 series’, all of which are available to watch on the iPlayer at your leisure.
Gavin & Stacey
In the unlikely event that you haven’t seen Gavin & Stacey before, we’d definitely recommend that you put it on your watch list. This light-hearted British sitcom centres around the relationship between two characters: Gavin (Mathew Horne) and Stacey (Joanna Page). When the pair first meet after only speaking on the phone, they instantly fall in love and soon decide to get married, much to the initial dismay of Stacey’s family. However, the two families soon merge into one in what makes a heart-warming viewing experience.