The 55 best shows on BBC iPlayer to watch right now – The Sun

The 55 best shows on BBC iPlayer to watch right now – The Sun

November 19, 2020

STREAMING platforms have never been more in-demand with the nation going in and out of lockdown.

But don't despair – there's nothing better to help cure the boredom than bingeing the best shows that BBC iPlayer has to offer.

Here's a round-up of the best shows to get you through isolation.

1. Little Mix The Search

Everybody's favourite girl band are on the look out for a new band to support them during their upcoming Confetti Tour (2021).

Jesy Nelson, Perrie Edwards, Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock star in the four-part series with the episodes airing at 72 minutes each.

Will they find who they're looking for?

2. The Victim

If your child was murdered would you ever forgive the culprit?

Well it looks like Anna Dean is out for revenge after she decides to release the identity of her son's killer online 14 years later as a man called Craig Myers.

Which later sees her go on trial for attempted murder.

Anna's actions completely taint Craig's reputation as a dad and husband and he has to try and fix his life back together once again.

3. Ghosts

After inheriting a huge mansion, Alison and Mike think they've hit the jack pot when they move into their new home and decide to make a bit more cash by turning it into a hotel.

But little do they know that it's haunted by loads of ghosts that try to scare them off of the property and one ghost in particular takes it too far when they push Alison out of the window…

4. Waterloo Road

Despite ending five years ago, fans of the popular drama series can now rewatch all of the old school episodes from the very start – dating all the way back to 2006.

The programme follows the lives of those who attend Waterloo Road, and it is certainly jam packed full of drama both between the students and the teachers.

5. Some Girls

The show follows the story of a group of four 16-year-old best friends who are studying at school for their GCSES and A-Levels.

The gal pals – Viva, Amber, Holli and Saz – are doing their best to make sure they have the right balance between their education, friends and of course, boys.

Each series shows the progression of how they get on at school, while keeping up with football practice, looking after their siblings and experiencing their first sexual encounters.

Adelayo Adedayo, Mandeep Dhillon, Alice Felgate and Natasha Jonas are the protagonists in the show.

6. The Nest

7. Noughts and Crosses

The BBC drama is an adaptation of the acclaimed books by Malorie Blackman and is set in dystopia where Africa has colonised the UK.

Against a background of prejudice, distrust and powerful rebellion mounting on the streets, a passionate romance builds between Sephy (Masali Baduza) and Callum (Jack Rowan), which leads them both into terrible danger.

Interracial relationships are forbidden in this nightmarish future, but that doesn't stop a privileged cross from falling in love with working class nought against the odds.

8. Our Girl

Our Girl is an action-packed military drama series which first hit screens in March 2013.

A young working-class woman, Georgie, joins the British Army as she tries to get her life back on track.

The current fourth season is Michelle Keegan's last series on the show, after she took over from Lacey Turner as the lead at the beginning of series two.

9. Stacey Dooley Investigates

A series of documentaries in which journalist Stacey Dooley investigates current affairs issues affecting young people around the world.

In her latest escapade, the former Strictly Come Dancing winner wanted to find out more about South Korea’s new sex crime, 'molka', where people are secretly filmed in their most intimate moments.

If you're up for something factual and hard-hitting, look no further.

10. London Kills

London Kills follows the Metropolitan Police Murder Investigation Team as they tackle grisly cases across the capital, with each 45-minute episode featuring a different case.

The series follows on from London-based police procedural series Suspects, and aside from the cast, features a number of striking similarities.

There is a documentary-style feel to the program and an ad-lib script, giving way to authentic, nuanced performances.

11. The mysterious murder of Nipsey Hussle

Ben Zand sets out to unravel the mystery of Nipsey Hussle’s murder. On the 31st of March 2019, the rapper and entrepreneur was shot dead.

In Los Angeles, Ben Zand meets those closest to Nipsey Hussle, and those who knew the alleged killer Eric Holder. He talks to childhood friends, new-age Black Panthers and a former police officer.

They don’t all agree on the reasons for anyone wanting Nipsey dead, but they do agree there is much more to the murder than the anyone is letting on.

12. Killing Eve

A British spy thriller series featuring Grey's Anatomy's Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer.

Oh plays Eve Polastri as a British intelligence investigator who has been tasked with taking down psychopathic assassin Villanelle.

As the chase progresses, both develop a mutual obsession with one another.

Winning a BAFTA for Best Drama series, this will have you hooked before you know it.

13. Gavin and Stacey

If you need comic relief then look no further than Gavin and Stacey for your fill of laughs.

This British sitcom  starring James Corden and Ruth Jones tracks the romance between Gavin (Mathew Horne) and Stacey (Joanna Page).

Corden plays Smithy, Gavin's best friend, while Jones plays Stacey's best friend Nessa.

The show follows the key moments in the couple's relationship with their first date, their families meeting, getting engaged, married, looking for new jobs, briefly splitting up and trying for children.

14. Louis Theroux

Louis Theroux, also know as Britain's favourite documentary filmmaker, has charmed the nation with his sarcastic quips and insightful investigations.

His series includes talking to America's most hated family, sex workers and the recently famous Tiger King that has everyone talking.

15. Line of Duty

DS Steve Arnott is transferred to the police anti-corruption unit after a counter terrorist operation leads to the accidental death of a man.

The death is a result of a mistake by another police officer, who ironically, has received the officer of the year award.

Is there more to his accolade than meets the eye?

16. The Honourable Woman

A woman who inherits her father's arm business finds herself in an international storm as she tries to promote peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is Ephra Stein, the Anglo-Jewish businesswoman who commits her life to the Middle-Eastern peace process.

Eight years after taking over her father's company her business partner dies in a mysterious suicide, which sends her business and family into chaos.

17. Merlin

If wizarding wonders are your cup of tea then this is the perfect series for you.

Colin Morgan plays Merlin, a young and powerful warlock who arrives in the kingdom of Camelot after his mother arranges for him to stay with the royal physician Gaius (Richard Wilson).

The current king outlawed magic 20 years earlier but Merlin keeps hearing voices, who tell him to protect the king's son, who will bring back magic to the kingdom of Camelot.

18. Informer

Raza (Nabhaan Rizwan) is a first-generation British Pakistani who proves that being in the wrong place at the wrong time can have devastating consequences.

Raza is coerced into becoming an informant by a counterterrorism officer names Gabe (Paddy Considine) and finds himself at the centre of deadly investigations.

If you like action and tension aplenty, this one's for you.

19. Years and Years

The six-part series follows a Manchester-based family called the Lyons living in a dystopia not so distant from our own world.

The story tracks the lives of the family as they deal with engagements, terrifying technological advancement and cut-throat career opportunities.

After one crucial night in 2019, the story jumps into the future and looks at Britain during the politically rocky decades to come.

20. Miranda

Miranda Hart is the 6ft 1inch lady who gets herself into all sort of difficulties.

Miranda never fit in with her friends at boarding school and finds herself being relentlessly awkward in social situations.

She runs her own joke shop and boutique whilst juggling all that life has to throw at her in this feel good sitcom full of slapstick humour and witty one-liners.

21. Normal People

The show is based on the novel of the same name by Sally Rooney.

The series follows the relationship between Marianne Sheridan (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell Waldron (Paul Mescal), set in modern, rural Ireland, Connell and Marianne, on different ends of their school’s social scene, begin an intense, secret affair.

They navigate adulthood from their final days in secondary school to their undergraduate years in Trinity College.

22. Glow Up:  Britain's Next Make-Up Star

Hosted by Stacey Dooley, Glow Up returns for it’s second series as 10 aspiring make-up artists battle to be named Britain’s next make-up star.

Tested in a range of professional assignments, as well as with creative make-up transformations in Glow Up HQ, each week the two MUAs who least impress enter the Face Off elimination, with series judges Val Garland and Dominic Skinner deciding which one will go home.

The last MUA standing at the end of the series wins a contract assisting some of the world’s top make-artists.

23. The A Word

Now in series three, a lot has changed for the Hughes family as we join them two years on.

Joe is now 10 and dividing his time between his mum Alison and dad Paul, who are divorced and living 100 miles apart.

Writer Peter Bowker told the BBC: “It is a joy to be revisiting the world of The A Word, to move the story of the Hughes family on, and to have the opportunity to expand our celebration and examination of diversity and humanity in all its myriad forms.”

24. The Great British Sewing Bee

The Great British Sewing Bee is back, with 12 sewers competing this time.

Joe Lycett kicks off ten weeks of the most perplexing patterns, eye-popping transformations and stunning made-to-measure garments yet. Scrutinising every stitch are Saville Row’s Patrick Grant and Central Saint Martins’s Esme Young, testing the sewers across a huge range of garments from rugby shirts to children’s dungarees, flamenco skirts to a boned basque, via food fancy dress.

25. Charlie Brooker's Antiviral Wipe

In this one-off special, Charlie Brooker returns to our screens for the first time since his Bafta-winning 2016 Wipe to take a look at life under lockdown.

As well as coverage of the crisis itself, Charlie also explores what the public have been watching to while away the hours.

Guest contributors joining him, from a safe distance, include the ever-insightful Philomena Cunk and Barry Shitpeas.

If nothing else, it will give you something to do for half an hour.

26. Cardinal

The series is adapted from the Giles Blunt books, which are set in the small fictional city of Algonquin Bay, in Northern Ontario, Canada.

The show stars Billy Campbell as the titular John Cardinal while Karine Vanasse plays his police partner – and potential love interest – Lise Delorme.

The fourth and final season is currently airing on BBC Two, with the previous three seasons also available to watch on iPlayer.

Billy has described the fourth series as "our most tense season" and revealed Lise could be in "mortal danger".

27. Peter Kay's Car Share

Peter Kay is one of the country's best loved comedians, and he stars in this BAFTA-winning series alongside the equally funny Sian Gibson.

The sitcom follows John, a supermarket assistant manager, and Kayleigh, a promotions rep, as they car share on their way to and from work each day.

As well as their humorous chitchat, laughs can also be found courtesy of fictional radio station Forever FM which is on in the car, plus billboards and adverts on vans which are littered with puns and innuendos.

There are two series and two specials available so plenty of laughs to be had.

28. The Salisbury Poisonings

This three-part drama is based on the events of March 2018, when Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped and foaming at the mouth on a bench in the Wiltshire cathedral city.

The pair had been poisoned with the deadly nerve agent Novichok and the drama focuses the lens on the way the local community and health officials responded in the days and weeks afterwards.

Anne-Marie Duff plays Tracy Daszkiewicz, the director of public health for Wiltshire, and Rafe Spall as DS Nick Bailey, who was one of the first to respond to the attack.

29. My Family

If you're in the mood for a classic British sitcom, look no further than My Family, which aired from 2000 to 2011.

Starring Robert Lindsay and Zoe Wanamaker, My Family followed the exploits of the Harper clan across 11 series.

The series also starred Kris Marshall and featured numerous guest stars including Pauline Quirke, John Barrowman and Ainsley Harriott.

30. Doctor Foster

This thriller had the nation gripped when it first aired back in 2015.

Suranne Jones stars as the titular character, who is convinced her husband is having an affair.

Her fixation on it causes her life to unravel, with the second series following on from the aftermath of the dramatic season one finale.

The stellar cast also includes Jodie Comer before her Killing Eve glory.

If you like a drama that leaves you on the edge of your seat, this is one for you.

31. I May Destroy You

Michaela Coel's gritty drama exploring sexual abuse has been widely praised for its frank, realistic portrayals.

As well as penning the script Michaela, 32, plays Annabelle, a writer whom suffers sexual abuse.

Based on a real-life story, this is a must-watch.

32. The Secrets She Keeps

This six-part thriller will keep viewers on the edge of their seats as they follow the lives of pregnant Meghan and Aggie.

Well, vlogger Meghan is actually expecting, while Aggie is merely pretending.

Discover the real reason for the shelf-stacker's deception in a plot set to take dark turns.

33. The Luminaires

This series is the latest BBC show to get people talking, and the novel adaptation has a great cast including Sin City's Eva Green.

The show is an adaption of Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize winning novel of the same name.

The synopsis reads: "The Luminaries tells an epic story of love, murder and revenge, as men and women travelled across the world to make their fortunes.

"It is a 19th century tale of adventure and mystery, set on the Wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island in the boom years of the 1860s gold rush.

"The story follows defiant young adventurer Anna Wetherell, who has sailed from Britain to New Zealand to begin a new life."

34. My Jihad

This BBC iPlayer drama is a mini-series of three, 15-minute films.

It features Fahmida and Nazir who meet at an unsuccessful muslim speed-dating evening.

The plot crams in heart-warming wit and romance and centres on the development of events one month later from the event

35. Glastonbury

Sadly this year's tent-filled, often soaking wet, outdoor music festival was not to be courtesy of the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet the BBC's iPlayer has saved the day with its epic offering of previous performers and performances, including those from Adele, Coldplay and the Killers.

David Bowie's set will also be broadcast in full for the first time ever.

36. Shrill

This Hulu original comedy about struggling journalist Annie sees a woman no longer playing down to expectations of being fat – she vows to love herself, whether or not her hook-ups, colleagues and family feel the same.

In the first episode Annie signs up to an exercise class where the teacher tells her there is "a small person inside there" and "you could be so pretty".

Annie also has a boyfriend who makes her leave out the back door so she doesn’t meet his friends.

When Annie learns she’s pregnant by the loser, her friend Fran persuades her to raise her own low expectations for herself and stop playing down to society’s expectations of her as a fat woman.

37. A Suitable Boy

Based on the novel by Vikram Seth set in 1951, A Suitable Boy is an Indian family saga that delves into newly independent India, where passionate literature student Lata Mehra is torn between family duty and the promise of romance – as three very different men try to win her heart.

It is the first Indian period drama of its kind in British TV history, and "a zesty new drama with a slight hint of cheese," according to Carol Midgley of The Times.

Lata's mother Rupa has her sights set on her spirited younger daughter, but Lata wants to make her own way in the world. She isn’t interested in romance. But her resolve is challenged when she starts to fall for a mysterious fellow student, Kabir Durrani.

38. Heroes

One of the first binge-worthy shows before the dawn of Netflix has made a comeback on the BBC iPlayer.

All four series of Heroes is now available to watch, taking fans back to the lives of the characters across the world dealing with the newly discovered superpowers they possess.

The show, about a group of people who discover their individual abilities, centres on a man who paints pictures of the future, a woman who sees a different side of herself in the mirror, a teenage cheerleader whose every injury heals itself, a Tokyo office worker who thinks he can travel through time and space and a man running for congress in New York, whose younger brother believes he can fly.

39. Semi-Detached

This very new, very real-time sitcom follows the hapless Stuart as he struggles through the worst half hour of his life.

Each 30 minute episode of Semi-Detached plays out in real time and is exactly like 24 – except viewers are following loser DJ Stu (Lee Mack) around and not a government agent who saves the world.

Following a one off episode broadcast last year as part of BBC Two’s series of New on Two comedy pilots, Semi-Detached has been turned into a full series.

But only the pilot is currently available on iPlayer.

It should be enough to coax fans over to BBC Two where they can watch the new series, with Stu dealing with a sexually promiscuous father, a daughter with a newly shaved head and the surprise return of his errant brother, who is on the run from some very unsavoury types.

40. Anthony

In July 2005, black teenager Anthony Walker was murdered by two white men in an unprovoked racist attack in a Liverpool park. He was just 18 years old.

This film tells the story of how a talented young man’s life might have turned out if he had been allowed to live. Written by Bafta-winning screenwriter Jimmy McGovern, Anthony’s imagined life is told in reverse chronology as we see him realise his dreams and enjoy the life he had a right to live, before fate – and hate – take it all away.

41. Strike: Lethal White

Strike: Lethal White is a four-part BBC mini series and adaptation of a JK Rowling book, written under the name Robert Galbraith.

It sees detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott mix politics with criminality, as the latter goes undercover both in the Houses of Parliament and a left wing anarchist group.

With just four episodes, it doesn't require much commitment either.

42. Life

The Doctor Foster spin-off tracks Gemma Foster's best pal Anna as she moves to Manchester and changes her name to Bella, following her divorce.

The trailer features Gavin and Stacey legend as 70-yer-old Gail and they are joined by a host of other characters living together in the same house, converted into four separate properties.

It's penned by Doctor Foster writer Mike Bartlett, so should be fantastic, and it's available in autumn.

43. Harlots

Get ready for this racy BBC drama shedding light on the 18th Century sex trade.

The BBC series is delivered from the female point of view and while it features very saucy segments, it's true to history too.

Lesley Manville, who played Lydia Quigley in the series that first aired on Hulu, told The Sun's TV Mag: "The story is investing in the women and the stories and their lives and characters – you see the characters talking about their sexual experiences, you always feel like there’s a third eye.

44. Famalam

This is a cutting edge sketch show revealing the best in Black comedic talent.

While bound to bring a smile to your face, it also tackles serious subjects through the art form, such as postcode wars.

The show's third season has just aired on BBC Three.

45. Good Trouble

This US based series is a spin-off of The Fosters.

Viewers will follow adopted sisters Callie and Mariana as they move to LA for a new life in sun-soaked climes.

It's a feel-good coming of age drama complete with all the twists and turns of young adult life.

46. Battlestar Galactica

Living on the planet Caprica, humans made the Cylons – AI robots essentially – but they evolved, they rebelled, and they won.

The last of human kind has fled into deep space on Battlestar Galactica, their destination is the fabled 13th Colony of Earth, founded by a tribe said to have left the human origin planet of Kobol.

Now humanity's last hope is a desperate search for a place called Earth. The complete sci-fi epic.

47. What we do in the Shadows

Based on the film of the same name, this mockumentary follows three vampires who have been roommates for hundreds and hundreds of years, in Staten Island.

Nandor, Laszlo, and Nadja are all traditional sorts of vampire – i.e the blood sucking variety, and Colin Robinson, an energy vampire. There's also Guillermo, Nandor's familiar.

The series revolves around the centuries-old vampires interacting with the modern world and other supernatural beings.

48. The Shining

Just in time for Halloween, this Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick classic film will provide all the screams as Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer's block.

He settles in along with his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and his son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), who is plagued by psychic premonitions.

As Jack's writing goes nowhere and Danny's visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel's dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorising his family.

49. Twenties

This scripted comedy series follows a queer black woman in her twenties, Hattie (Jonica T. Gibbs), and her two straight best friends, Marie (Christina Elmore) and Nia (Gabrielle Graham).

Wannabe screenwriter Hattie is an unapologetic, queer, African-American woman. Hollywood isn't ready for her.

Is she ready for Hollywood? Figuring-it-out comedy by Lena Waithe.

50. Him & Her


Shot completely in their flat in Walthamstow, London, this crude and juvenile series might be short on action and locations but it makes up in hilarity and heartwarming moments.

Starring Russell Tovey, as Steve, and Sarah Solemani, as Becky, they're aided by a bunch of supporting characters including Becky's sister Laura and her fiancé Paul, who takes so much cocaine he "looks like Santa" and only proposed to her so he could have a stag do.

It's a glorious insight to how many couples behave.

51. The Rap Game UK

Rap legends DJ Target, Krept and Konan hunt for the next big MC to take over the scene.

Six rappers battle it out to win a coveted record deal and straight after meeting one another, the artists perform for the first time in front of  the rap legends. In an a cappella performance, the artists must show why they are unique.

52. Pose

If you want to know where RuPaul's Drag Race got its lingo from look no further than the funny, heartwarming and revolutionary, Pose.

The groundbreaking US series is about the underground world of 1980s ball culture, set at the height of the Aids epidemic.

Black transgender woman Blanca Rodriguez works at a nail salon by day and serves as a member of the House of Abundance by night.

The House of Abundance is a bunch of outsiders who steal shocking gowns from the Brooklyn Museum to drag up for a ball

After receiving a life-changing medical diagnosis, Blanca becomes determined to open her own house.

She starts by taking in 17-year-old Damon, a talented dancer.

53. Atlanta

In one of the most critically acclaimed shows in recent times, Donald Glover sheds his goofy Troy Barnes persona from community to portray Earn, a struggling dad in Atlanta trying to manage his rising star rapper cousin, Alfred Miles.

Earn does whatever he can to try to get Alfred's career to the next level. Darius (Lakieth Stanfield), the rapper's right-hand man and visionary, is also in Alfred's entourage. 

54. Awkafina is Nora From Queens

Created by and starring genius rapper/actress/comedian Awkafina (Ocean's Eight), this hilarious comedy follows Nora Lum as she tries to navigate young adulthood in Flushing, New York with her cousin and a little help from her dad and grandmother.

Based on her real life, the show has been renewed for a second season by Comedy Central.

55. Mrs. America

This gripping drama covers the birth of the women's rights movements in the 1960's and 70's and also showcases the point of view from women not so keen to burn their bras.

Mrs America features a stellar cast from Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne and Sarah Paulson, with an Emmy Award winning performance by Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to the United States Congress and first black Democratic Presidential nominee.

The series follows conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly leads an unexpected fight against the Equal Rights Amendment movement during the 1970s.

Need more content to stream? Check out our round-up of the best series on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

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