How to Watch BBC iPlayer in Australia (December 2020 Updated)

Last updated: December 1, 2020

If you’re wondering how to watch BBC iPlayer in Australia, you’ve come to the right place. BBC iPlayer is a British-based streaming service. It features an impressive all-English channel line-up, famous shows like EastEnders and MasterChef, adrenaline-filled Premier League action, binge-worthy British documentaries, and much more.

Is BBC iPlayer available in Australia?

Unfortunately BBC iPlayer is region-locked to the UK and not available in Australia. If you try to access the service from here, it will block you and show a territory-restriction error. However, you can still watch BBC iPlayer in Australia using a VPN that provides servers in the UK, such as Surfshark.

Watch BBC iPlayer in Australia in 4 steps: Quick Guide

To watch BBC iPlayer in Australia, just follow these four easy steps:

  1. Choose a VPN service. We recommend Surfshark for its low price and excellent geo-blocks bypassing ability.
  2. Open the VPN app on your device. It could be your laptop, desktop, smartphone, tablet, or even smart TV.
  3. Connect to a UK server from the servers’ list.
  4. Go to bbc.co.uk/iplayer, enter your account username and password, and start watching BBC iPlayer in Australia.

BBC iPlayer Channels and Shows

BBC iPlayer Channels and Shows


4 Best BBC iPlayer VPNs for Australians (December 2020 Updated)

I wanted the information in this guide to be accurate and reliable. So, I tested 70+ VPNs to check which ones worked with BBC iPlayer from Australia and which failed to unblock the streaming service altogether. I vetted each service thoroughly for stability and speed. This allowed me to compile a list of 4 best VPNs to watch BBC iPlayer in Australia. These VPNs are as follows:

  1. Surfshark (Top-rated BBC iPlayer VPN for Australians)
  2. PureVPN (Affordable BBC iPlayer VPN for Australians)
  3. ExpressVPN (Fastest but expensive VPN service to watch BBC iPlayer in Australia)
  4. NordVPN (Most stable VPN service to stream BBC iPlayer in Australia)

All these four VPNs operate large server parks in the UK. They are fast, protect against IP leaks, and provide good and competent customer service.

Let’s take a look at them one by one.


1. Surfshark (Top-rated BBC iPlayer VPN for Australians)

Surfshark homepage

Surfshark homepage

Surfshark offers 3 servers, across three different cities in the UK, that allow you to access BBC iPlayer to watch MasterChef, Years and Years, and other shows in Australia. You can experience its unlimited simultaneous connections feature to watch these famous shows on different devices.

The service provides various security and privacy features like internet kill switch, Cleanweb, IP leak protection, no logs, Whitelister, and so on. You will have to pay $2.21/month to subscribe to its 2-year plan at a massive 83% discount along with a 30-day refund.

Test findings

The server record with Surfshark was pretty straightforward for both desktop and mobile platforms, as each offered three server locations to choose from: i) London, ii) Manchester, and iii) Glasgow.

Connected to Surfshark's Manchester server

Connected to Surfshark’s Manchester server

I began the test with Surfshark’s Manchester server, where I streamed a sports documentary, Alan Shearer’s Euro 96: When Football Came Home.

Streaming Alan Shearer’s Euro 96: When Football Came Home on Surfshark’s Manchester server

Streaming Alan Shearer’s Euro 96: When Football Came Home on Surfshark’s Manchester server

The London and Glasgow servers also did a good job at providing access to BBC content, making Surfshark a well-rounded BBC iPlayer for Australia.

Watching Live Weather Report on Surfshark’s London server

Watching Live Weather Report on Surfshark’s London server

One thing, in particular, I liked about the service was how well it handled live streaming without suffering from any performance drops.

  • Best Surfshark server for BBC iPlayer: Manchester
  • Server location(s) to avoid: None
  • Perfect for: BBC iPlayer live streaming


2. PureVPN (Affordable BBC iPlayer VPN for Australians)

PureVPN homepage

PureVPN homepage

PureVPN provides 160+ servers, across four different cities in the UK, that help you unblock BBC iPlayer in Australia. You can use its attractive streaming features such as built-in streaming mode and a dedicated section for popular channels to watch BBC iPlayer in HD quality.

The service offers numerous privacy and security features, including kill switch, dedicated IP, split tunnelling, ten multi-logins, and no logs. You can subscribe to its 1-year package at the cost of $4.16/month at an amazing 62% discount with a 31-day money-back guarantee.

Test findings

The desktop version of the PureVPN app offers four server locations to choose from: i) Gosport, ii) Maidenhead, iii) Manchester, and iv) London. The mobile version of the app, on the other hand, offers only two server locations, Manchester and London.

PureVPN server connected to Maidenhead server in the UK

PureVPN connected to Maidenhead server in the UK

I put down all the four server locations to test, starting from Maidenhead. The server location did not report any problems as I streamed episode 1 of Inside Monaco: Playground of the Rich.

Streaming Inside Monaco: Playground of the Rich on PureVPN Maidenhead server

Streaming Inside Monaco: Playground of the Rich on PureVPN Maidenhead server

Next in the line was London, which did an equally good job of unblocking BBC iPlayer. Manchester servers did not disappoint either; however, Gosport servers failed to breach the geo-blocks set by the streaming service.

Streaming Normal People on PureVPN London server

Streaming Normal People on PureVPN London server

All three working servers performed average when streaming live content on the iPlayer.

  • Best PureVPN server for BBC iPlayer: London
  • Server location(s) to avoid: Gosport
  • Perfect for: Streaming BBC iPlayer in HD quality


3. ExpressVPN (Fastest but expensive VPN service to watch BBC iPlayer in Australia)

ExpressVPN homepage

ExpressVPN homepage

ExpressVPN provides 5 servers, across four different cities in the UK, that enable you to watch BBC iPlayer in Australia. The service offers an impressive MediaStreamer feature that you can configure on your router to increase your connection speeds.

Besides, you can use its other security and privacy features like kill switch (network lock), split tunnelling, IP leak protection, and no-logs. You can subscribe to its yearly plan by paying $8.32/month at an attractive 49% discount coupled with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Test findings

The desktop version of the ExpressVPN app offers four server locations to choose from: i) Docklands, ii) East London, iii) London, and iv) Wembley. The mobile version of the app offers only two server locations, Docklands and East London.

I put down all the four server locations to test to evaluate how each performs.

ExpressVPN connected to East London server in the UK

ExpressVPN connected to East London server in the UK

First in the line was East London. It fared exceptionally well, providing a buffer-free streaming experience.

Watching A House Through Time on ExpressVPN’s East London server

Watching A House Through Time on ExpressVPN’s East London server

London, Wembley, and Docklands servers returned the same level of high performance as their counterpart, making ExpressVPN the fastest BBC iPlayer VPN for Australia.

Watch Enterprice on ExpressVPN's London server

Watching Enterprice on ExpressVPN’s London server

  • Best ExpressVPN server for BBC iPlayer: Docklands
  • Server location(s) to avoid: All four server locations did well, so there isn’t any that I would recommend you to avoid.
  • Perfect for: Fast and buffer-free iPlayer streaming


4. NordVPN (Most stable VPN service to stream BBC iPlayer in Australia)

NordVPN homepage

NordVPN homepage

NordVPN provides a whopping 500+ servers in the UK, all housed in the historic town of Great Dunmow. Its SmartPlay feature combines VPN technology with Smart DNS, allowing it to bypass BBC iPlayer’s geo-blocks with ease.

The service comes equipped with an impressive line-up of security and privacy options, including dedicated IP addresses, automatic kill switch, military-grade encryption, and a strict no logs policy. You can get its 2-year plan for a monthly fee of $3.71 at an amazing 68% discount, with a 30-day money-back guarantee

Test findings

Since all NordVPN servers are located in Great Dunmow, I didn’t have the option of choosing multiple server locations for testing purposes. So, to get a fair assessment, I ran the test drill thrice, each time trying to connect with a different server.

NordVPN connected to a Great Dunmow server in the UK

NordVPN connected to a Great Dunmow server in the UK

As I had expected, NordVPN didn’t disappoint, and I was able to stream the content without any problems.

Watching Ocean Autopsy: The Secret of Our Seas on NordVPN’s Great Dunmow server

Watching Ocean Autopsy: The Secret of Our Seas on NordVPN’s Great Dunmow server

I watched BBC iPlayer for at least an hour on each of the VPNs included in this list, and I can comfortably say NordVPN provided the most stable streaming experience by far of any other VPN service, without any loss in connectivity.

Streaming Mrs Brown’s Boys on NordVPN’s Great Dunmow server

Streaming Mrs Brown’s Boys on NordVPN’s Great Dunmow server

So, if you’re looking to indulge in a BBC iPlayer long-hour marathon over the weekend, you should give NordVPN a try. 

  • Best NordVPN server for BBC iPlayer: All Great Dunmow servers performed equally well
  • Server location(s) to avoid:None
  • Perfect for:BBC iPlayer binge-marathons


How a VPN helps Unblock BBC iPlayer

Similar to Channel 4, BBC iPlayer uses your IP address to track your location. If you try to sign in from outside the UK with a non-UK IP address, it will immediately block you. A virtual private network, or VPN, changes your Australian IP address to a UK IP address and re-routes your internet traffic through a UK server. That way, BBC iPlayer thinks you are based in the UK, and it lifts off the region blocks, allowing you to stream your favourite British shows and channels.

BBC iPlayer is not available in Australia

BBC iPlayer geo-restriction error

It’s important to remember here not all VPNs work with BBC iPlayer though. So, you need to choose the right VPN service. All of the VPNs I’ve listed above have been thoroughly tested and found to work with BBC iPlayer consistently.


Do free VPNs work with BBC iPlayer?

Free VPNs used to work with BBC iPlayer. However, in 2016, the service broadcaster tightened its grip over VPNs to stop people from accessing content outside the UK. This action from BBC rendered free VPNs ineffective against the respective in-place geo-blocks. So, free VPNs no longer work with BBC iPlayer.


BBC iPlayer not working with your VPN? Try this…

Sometimes, you may encounter problems when trying to access BBC iPlayer even with a reliable VPN service. In that case, you can try one of the following fixes:

  1. Switch to a different VPN server
  2. Clear cookies from your browser settings, and then restart the browser
  3. Make sure the leak protection on your VPN is on
  4. Change your time zone to the UK
  5. Switch your device

Rest assured, your BBC iPlayer should start working.


How to set-up BBC iPlayer account from Australia

The BBC iPlayer account creation process is quite simple and easy. Just follow these steps:

Head over to bbc.co.uk/iplayer, and click “Sign in”.

Click “Register now”.

Select “13 or over”.

Enter your date of birth.

 Fill out the details.

How to provide a postcode for BBC iPlayer registration

While filling out the registration form, BBC iPlayer will ask you to provide a postcode. You can search for a UK postcode on Google. Just make sure to change the outcode to “1AA” when you’re entering the postcode.

So let’s say you find a London postcode E1 7AA on Google. The last three characters, 7AA, makeup the outcode of this postcode. Change them with 1AA, and your postcode will be E1 1AA.

Why do we need to change the outcode on the postcode?

Usually, postcodes have multiple people on them. However, some postcodes may have a single owner. By changing the outcode to 1AA, which is the standard outcode for UK local sorting offices, you can avoid any potential inconvenience for the person to whom that original postcode may belong to. 

Once you’ve completed the form, select “Register”.

On the next page, click “No, thanks” and then “Continue”.

Congratulations; your BBC iPlayer account is now ready. You can watch and enjoy all the premium content that the BBC has to offer to its UK audience.


Is the BBC iPlayer free to use?

Technically, BBC iPlayer is not free to use. I say “technically” because you have to pay the annual UK TV license fee to avail the service. However, the BBC never asks you for proof of your license ownership and lets you stream the service in good faith. 

So, even if you’re not paying the UK TV license fee, you can still watch BBC iPlayer in Australia free. 

Can you get fined watching BBC iPlayer without a UK TV license?

If you’re in the UK, the authorities may fine you for watching BBC iPlayer without a UK TV license, although there haven’t been any reports of such incidents. If you’re in Australia, however, it’s even better because here you are completely safe.

Does BBC iPlayer ever ask for a UK TV license?

While trying to access PG-rated shows on BBC iPlayer, the service may ask you to confirm if you own a UK TV license. In that case, you can click “yes”, and it will allow you to stream the content without any problems.


The use of VPN overseas (or local) content is legal in Australia. You can watch BBC iPlayer from Australia through a VPN without fearing anything. Even the former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull agrees with this assessment. 


BBC iPlayer compatible devices

BBC iPlayer works on multiple devices, including:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Roku
  • Amazon FireStick
  • Chromecast
  • PS3 and PS4
  • Xbox One and Xbox 360

Can I watch BBC iPlayer on Samsung Smart TV too?

Due to a software glitch, BBC iPlayer has stopped working on different models of Samsung Smart TV. However, you can update your Samsung Smart TV software to solve this issue.


If you are from Australia and want to watch BBC content, there aren’t many local options in the country that allow you to do so. At best, you’ve got Foxtel and Fetch TV that give you limited access to five BBC channels, including BBC First, BBC Earth, UKTV, CBeebies, and World News

While these channels house some seriously awesome content of their own, they make up only a fraction of what the BBC has to offer in entertainment, documentaries, drama, live sports, and news. That’s where BBC iPlayer comes in.

You can watch all BBC channels on BBC iPlayer, including:

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Four
  • BBC News
  • BBC Parliament
  • BBC Scotland
  • S4C
  • Radio 1
  • BBC Alba
  • CBeebies

Famous TV shows you can watch on BBC iPlayer Australia

  • The Split
  • MasterChef
  • My Left Nut
  • Dirty Streaming
  • This Country
  • His Dark Materials
  • EastEnders
  • TopGear
  • The Next Step
  • Deadly 60

Best documentaries on BBC iplayer Australia

  • Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby
  • The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty
  • Ambulance
  • Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm
  • Murder Trial: The Disappearance of Margaret Fleming
  • Seven Worlds, One Planet
  • 8 Days: to the Moon and Back
  • Mothers on the Edge
  • Blue Planet
  • Louis Theroux’s Altered States

Can I watch Planet Earth II on BBC iPlayer? 

You can watch Planet Earth II on BBC iPlayer from Australia along with other famous exclusive documentaries that the BBC features.


How much data does BBC iPlayer consume?

BBC iPlayer may consume 50MB to 350MB data if you watch any program for an hour depending on your connection speed.

Ta-da…

And that’s it; this brings us to the end of our How to watch BBC iPlayer from Australia guide. Thanks for sticking around, and we hope you found the information helpful.

Happy BBC iPlayer streaming!

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