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Best BBC Shows — our guide to the most popular shows BBC iPlayer has to offer

The Best BBC shows: Strictly Come Dancing judges Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood, Anton Du Beke and Shirley Ballas
'Strictly Come Dancing' is just one of the best shows the BBC has on offer. (Image credit: BBC)

Here's our guide to the best BBC Shows on iPlayer. 

BBC iPlayer has everything you could possibly want as you settle down in front of the television, from comedy and documentaries to entertainment shows and gripping drama. 

Here's our guide to the best BBC Shows available on BBC iPlayer right now... 

Comedy 

'Ghosts'

Ghosts Season 3

Ghosts has become a huge favourite with BBC viewers.  (Image credit: BBC)

This hugely popular BBC1 comedy, from the makers of children’s hit Horrible Histories, sees Call the Midwife's Charlotte Ritchie and Death in Paradise star Kiell Smith-Bynoe playing a cash-strapped young couple, Alison and Mike, who inherit a rickety country mansion, only to find it teeming with ghosts

Ignoring their solicitor's advice to sell the property, Alison and Mike decide to move in and renovate it, with the idea of turning the house into a luxury hotel. At first, the ghosts are not very happy with their plans and conspire to get rid of the newcomers, resulting in hilarious drama.

Number of seasons: 3

Episodes:  19

Average episode length: 29 minutes 

'The Cleaner' 

TV tonight Greg Davies as Wicky the cleaner

Greg Davies as Wicky the cleaner.  (Image credit: BBC)

The Cleaner is a six-part series that sees Greg Davies playing Paul ‘Wicky’ Wickstead, a state-certified cleaning technician who’s tasked with removing any signs of death at crime scenes!

Armed with his chemicals and scrubbing brushes, Wicky has a job that not many people would envy. But he enjoys it and he loves a good gossip! During his duties he ends up talking to everyone from the victim’s relatives to neighbours and, erm, even the murderers themselves. There is also a star-studded cast, including The Crown star Helena Bonham Carter and Peep Show‘s David Mitchell, as well as Stephanie Cole (Still Open All Hours), Donald Sumpter (Game of Thrones), Shobu Kapoor (Four Weddings and a Funeral), Ruth Madeley (Years and Years) and Layton Williams (Bad Education).

Number of seasons: 2

Episodes: 6

Average episode length: 30 minutes

Entertainment 

'Strictly Come Dancing' 

TV tonight Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daley.

'Strictly Come Dancing' is a jewel in the BBC's Saturday night entertainment crown.  (Image credit: BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing is the highlight of the BBC's scheduling calendar each year, bringing us glitz, glamour and sparkle every autumn. The show sees famous faces paired up with a world-class professional dancer and put to the test each week as they showcase a new dance in the famous Strictly ballroom. BBC iPlayer has the latest two seasons available to binge, and also all the Sunday evening results shows, too.    

Number of seasons: 19 (seasons 18 and 19 are available on iPlayer)

Episodes: 349 (24 available on iPlayer)

Average episode length: 132 minutes

'RuPaul's Drag Race UK'

RuPaul's Drag Race UK Season 3

'RuPaul's Drag Race UK' is now on Season 3. (Image credit: BBC)

RuPaul is on the hunt for the UK’s next Drag Race superstar and with a whole new cast of queens ready to fight for the chance to be crowned winner, RuPaul is going to need some help from a very special panel. RuPaul is joined by Michelle Visage each episode, with legendary British TV Presenters Graham Norton and Alan Carr also joining the judging team. Each week a special celebrity guest will also join the show, bringing with them their own pearls of wisdom, including singer Cheryl Cole, Jade Thirlwell from Little Mix, Maya Jama, Dawn French, EastEnders star Natalie Cassidy, Elizabeth Hurley and Lorraine Kelly. 

Number of seasons: 3

Episodes: 25

Average episode length: 70 minutes 

'Michael McIntyre's The Wheel'

Michael McIntyre hosts The Wheel

Michael McIntyre hosts 'The Wheel'. (Image credit: BBC)

Michael McIntyre's hugely popular game show sees contestants trying to answer their way to a fortune with the help of some famous faces and a giant spinning wheel. Expect big laughs and plenty of entertainment! The Saturday night feel-good entertainment show has been a huge hit, with over six million viewers tuning in to the game show - definitely one for all the family. 

Number of seasons: 2

Episodes: 12

Average episode length: 59 minutes

Drama 

'Vigil'

Suranne Jones in Vigil.

Suranne Jones stars in BBC thriller 'Vigil'. (Image credit: BBC)

Gentleman Jack actress Suranne Jones stars in Vigil as DCI Amy Silva in this new crime thriller from the makers of Line of Duty and Bodyguard. Silva is called in when there appears to be a link between the mysterious disappearance of a fishing boat and a death on a nuclear submarine. 

The two incidents lead to a clash between the Navy and the British security services. Silva begins an investigation at sea, while back on land, Amy's old colleague and flame DS Kirsten Longacre (The Good Fight's Rose Leslie) hunts for more clues. And what she discovers is a conspiracy that threatens Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Is her life in danger?

Number of seasons: 1

Episodes: 6

Average episode length: 59 minutes 

'Silent Witness' 

TV tonight Adam, Nikki and Jack face a difficult case

'Silent Witness' has been a fan favourite for decades.  (Image credit: BBC)

Silent Witness is a long-running crime drama that has been on our screens since 1996. Emilia Fox stars as Dr Nikki Alexander alongside David Caves as Jack Hodgson. Over the years the team of forensic pathology experts has investigated some of the most grisly of crimes, with Amanda Burton originally leading the gang as Dr Sam Ryan, before leaving the show in season 8. Since then there have been some very famous faces on the cast including of William Gaminara, Tom Ward and later on Liz Carr and Richard Lintern.

Number of seasons: 24

Episodes: 219

Average episode length: 59 minutes 

'Gossip Girl' 

Gossip Girl cast as reboot comes to BBC1

The 'Gossip Girl' remake has arrived on BBC iPlayer. (Image credit: BBC)

Bursting onto our screens in 2007, US teen drama Gossip Girl seemed ahead of its time as it followed a bunch of New York private school students as every detail of their complicated lives played out on social media, at the hands of the titular controversial blogger.

Now, the eagerly awaited reboot of the show has arrived, and we will be returning to the Upper East Side as the next generation of Constance Billard private school teens is introduced to social surveillance nine years after the original blogger’s website went dark.

With this seventh series continuing on from the original, Gossip Girl 2.0 (if you will!) explores just how much social media - and the landscape of New York itself - has changed in the intervening years. 

Number of seasons: 1

Episodes: 6

Average episode length: 56

You can also watch all 6 seasons of the original Gossip Girl on BBC iPlayer now. 

'Ridley Road' 

Ridley Road

'Ridley Road' follows the story of Vivien Epstein in the 1960s.  (Image credit: BBC/Red Productions/Ben Blackall)

Ridley Road is set in the 1960s and follows Vivien Epstein (Agnes O’Casey), a Jewish hairdresser from Manchester, who flees her overbearing parents and heads to London to search for her true love, Jack Morris (Tom Varey). She visits Ridley Road, Jack’s last address, but is warned off by her uncle, the gruff Soly Malinovsky (Eddie Marsan), and Soly's wife Nancy (Tracy-Ann Oberman).

But Vivien stays in London and is shocked to discover Jack has gone missing while working undercover to infiltrate the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, led by Colin Jordan (Rory Kinnear). With the backing of the anti-fascist 62 Group led by Soly and Nancy, Vivien decides to go undercover to find Jack. But what will she discover?

Number of seasons: 1

Episodes: 4

Average episode length: 59 minutes

Documentaries

'Ambulance' 

Linda and Emma head out on another shift.

Linda and Emma head out on another shift in 'Ambulance'.  (Image credit: BBC)

Ambulance brings you all the drama from the NHS frontline, whether it's in the control rooms or the paramedic crew on the streets. These are the people making every second count when we need them the most — all while facing a barrage of problems and not to mention a pandemic. 

Number of seasons: 7

Episodes: 53

Average episode length: 60 minutes 

Claire Crick
Claire Crick

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 


After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off


She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 


As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.