BBC puts raft of shows on iPlayer as it competes with Netflix and Amazon
The BBC is placing a raft of box sets and classic episodes on its iPlayer over Christmas – as part of plans to compete against giants such as Netflix and Amazon.
EastEnders fans will be able to watch the hit soap’s past Christmas specials, including Den serving Angie with divorce papers in 1986, and Tiffany’s death in 1998.
Doctor Who lovers will be able to see every regeneration episode from the sci-fi show, from 2005 onwards.
The announcement comes after the BBC signalled it would be putting iPlayer at the centre of its future broadcasting plans.
It is the first time the corporation has put its box sets on iPlayer on such a large scale.
Shows available from December 16 will include the first three series of Peaky Blinders, with the latest series of the gang drama currently on air.
Other box sets include hit series Taboo, starring Tom Hardy, drama Wolf Hall, all four series of Line Of Duty and both series of Happy Valley, starring Sarah Lancashire.
Series three and four of Sherlock, as well as 2016’s special, The Abominable Bride, will also be available.
The full series of The Blue Planet, which was first broadcast in 2001, 2006’s Planet Earth, last year’s Planet Earth II and 2011’s Frozen Planet are also going on iPlayer.
Comedy hits will include the entire series of Inside Number 9, Fleabag and This Country, as well as classic episodes of Gavin & Stacey, Bad Education, Josh, Murder In Successville and Him & Her.
BBC director-general Tony Hall has previously said he wants to “reinvent the BBC for a new generation”.
Rival Amazon secured former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May for The Grand Tour, while Netflix has enjoyed huge success and acclaim with The Crown.
“We need it to make the leap from a catch-up service to a must-visit destination in its own right,” Lord Hall has said of iPlayer,
“Our goal, even in the face of rapid growth by our competitors, is for iPlayer to be the number one online TV service in the UK.”
On Tuesday, Charlotte Moore, director of content at the BBC, said the broadcaster had “an even richer offer across the BBC than ever before”.
“We are always home to the very best British programmes during the festive season but with so much content to fit in, it’s fantastic to give audiences a special gift on iPlayer to complement our schedules, with box sets of some of this year’s biggest shows and a selection of more recent hits to binge on with family and friends together this Christmas,” she said.
Other Albert Square specials to go on iPlayer include Kat and Alfie’s wedding from 2003, Max and Stacey’s affair from 2007 and Archie’s murder from 2009.
Much of the content will be available for 30 days.