- What to Watch
UPDATE: May 15 - Our new recommendation this week is another Louis Theroux documentary, titled Mothers on the Edge. It’s hard hitting stuff, but our list has lots of other shows you can watch if that’s not what you’re in the mood for.
iPlayer contains the vast majority of the BBC’s TV show output from the last 30 days, plus a few select shows that get to reside on the service for much longer. We’ve pored through the contents of the service, in order to show you what’s new, and what the highlights from the BBC’s archives are.
What’s New on iPlayer?
Louis Theroux: Mothers on the Edge
Credit: BBCIn this documentary, Theroux examines new mothers with mental health problems, who reside in specialised hospital wards where they and their babies can be taken care of. Both in the hospitals and in their homes, Theroux learns about their conditions and the unique difficulties that having to take care of someone and being taken care of yourself poses.
Forensics: The Real CSI
Credit: Blast! FilmsForever in the background of police procedurals, and sometimes taking a starring role in a few, forensic investigators help provide the evidence that the authorities use to investigate crime. This series follows their activities, from the crime scene to the lab and the mortuary, as skilled people work together to try and give definite answers to significant questions about who’s responsible and why.
Alison and Mike think the enormous country manor they’ve inherited from a dead relative is a massive stroke of luck. Sadly, it comes with a catch of being haunted by many ghosts. The spirits don’t take kindly to being disturbed, but coming into contact with the living for the first time in many years changes more than just their daily haunting routines.
Don’t Forget the Driver
Credit: BBCPeter Green drives coaches for a living, a job that keeps him busy taking tourists from attraction to attraction. However, with his daughter and mother seeing significant changes in their lives and the arrival of a visitor in his hometown of Bognor Regis, there’s a lot more important things vying for Peter’s attention.
Line of Duty
Credit: World Productions LimitedWhile writer Jed Mercurio is now well known for Bodyguard, the four series of Line of Duty, following the activities of a police anti-corruption task force, are where he first showed off his talent at writing. And now we have a fifth series. This time, the area of attention is a conspiracy involving undercover police officers and a series of armed heists. Expect many more complicated schemes and agonisingly long interrogation scenes.
Want to see what’s about to expire on iPlayer? Check our iPlayer leavers page
From all across iPlayer, we’ve brought together some shows that have a longer shelf life, so you’ll be able to enjoy them across a longer period of time. Or know that they’re here waiting for you if you get the binge-watching urge.
Jodie Whittaker’s turn as the 13th Doctor is the best looking series of the regenerating sci-fi show yet. This is bad news for anyone who prefers the Doctor to be running around a disused quarry pursued by a man covered in tinfoil, but the new approach means that, combined with the show's trademark mix of warmth and high stakes drama, the new series is great fun to watch. But don’t forget about the last four Doctors though. All episodes broadcast since the revival of the series in 2005 are available too.
If slightly off-the-wall cop dramas are your thing then you’ll love Idris Elba in Luther: the iPlayer has all five series, including the 2019 one. It’s a bleak show: the crimes are abhorrent, the police are far from your traditional ‘good guys’, and Luther rushes headlong into trouble every time. You’ll still enjoy it for its twists, schemes and Elba’s performance though.
Credit: FXA companion series to the motorcycle gang drama ‘Sons of Anarchy’, this time from the perspective of the rival gang, the Mayans. ‘EZ’ Reyes leaves prison to join the Mayans like his brother Angel, the pair fighting against the gang’s leadership as well as a drug cartel. Our heroes are likeable and good people, but find themselves with no choice but to live a life of crime.
The Dumping Ground
Now into its sixth series, this spin-off from the successful Tracy Beaker series still takes place in a children’s foster home, following a wide group of kids as they deal with life, growing up and finding foster parents. If you still want to watch the antics of Ms. Beaker, then you can also find all the episodes of her original show in the same place.
DIY show, in which kids’ dream rooms or dens are built by a team of creative and talented designers. These are often made to reflect the lucky child’s hobby or career aspirations, and are quite frequently exciting enough to make even an adult viewer quite jealous.
Children from all across the UK film a documentary about family members, friends and themselves in this series, to explain what it's like living with different health conditions, pursuing unusual hobbies or living in strange places.
For online-only BBC content aimed towards a more youthful audience across all genres, BBC Three is the best place to look
There She Goes
A comedy drama featuring not one but two high-profile leads in David Tennant and Jessica Hynes, is a warm but honest look at the lives of a family where one child has profound learning difficulties. Tennant in particular is very good: if you’re used to him chewing the scenery as Doctor Who you’ll find him hardly recognisable here.
There’s a ruthless assassin on the loose, and Eve, an MI5 agent, is tasked with bringing her in. But when she and contract killer Villanelle meet, their antagonistic relationship becomes a lot more complicated.
Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema
Film critic Kermode breaks down popular genres of film in this series, each episode devoted to a different type. He examines the techniques filmmakers and actors use to sell their stories to an audience, taking examples from around the world to show the power of this visual medium.
Credit: BBCMany of the shows starring the BBC’s chief investigator of the strange are available to watch on iPlayer. Start at the beginning with Weird Weekends, see his more recent work in the Altered States series, or dive into his highlights, such as his brushes with the famous and infamous in ‘When Louis Met…’, or his LA Stories, examining different sides of the City of Angels. His newest programme is The Night In Question, which covers the topic of sexual harassment on US college campuses. In a climate of rapidly changing rules designed to tackle these crimes with greater efficacy, Theroux visits people under investigation by their colleges, even when they have been found not guilty by the courts, as well as survivors arguing in favour of the new regulations.
Looking for some movies instead of TV? iPlayer’s film section has you covered
Luisa Omelian’s Politics for Bitches
Part standup, part documentary and as powerful as it’s funny. Omelian tackles a major issue affecting the young people of Britain in each episode, using jokes and facts to make the information entertaining and easily digestible, whether it be dull, complicated or emotionally sensitive.
Inside No. 9
An anthology series featuring half of the League of Gentlemen. Shearsmith and Pemberton tell us the peculiar tales which go on in places bearing the number ‘9’. Sometimes scary, but always funny, this is a show you’ll want to watch through again as soon as you've finished it, just to see how the answers for each episode’s twist were hidden in the dialogue and the characters' innocuous actions.
Two Brothers Pictures LimitedAfter a hiatus lasting over two years, this fantastic comedy written by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge has a second and final series. Fleabag is the uniquely self-aware character through whom we see the action play out, her asides to the audience putting a spin on an already finely composed script that shows both the humorousness and emotional depths of living the kind chaotic life that she has. Both series (twelve episodes total) are ready to watch right now.
And if none of that takes your fancy, how about some sport? iPlayer has plenty of that too.
(Images Credit: BBC)