Download BBC TV Shows with get_iplayer

What is get_iplayer, and why would you want it?

Get_iplayer is a FOSS program that allows you to download TV and radio from BBC iPlayer. The original developer stopped maintaining it at one point, but since it was licensed using the GPLv3 a few others were able to take over, and it’s still actively maintained. Hooray for free software!


You may find it useful if you have a slow internet connection at home that causes iPlayer to stutter, or if you want to download a TV show and watch it later when you’re not connected to the internet (e.g. on a tablet during a long plane journey).

Where do I get it?

get_iplayer only works if you have a UK-based IP address.

Ubuntu Linux

If you use Ubuntu Linux, then there is a version in the official repository. However, it’s not very recent so it’s a good idea to add this repository so you get the most up to date version.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jon-hedgerows/get-iplayer
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install get-iplayer


If you run Windows, you can download the latest version as an .exe from here: . It should work in a similar way to the Linux version, via command line (start –> search for “command prompt”).

How to use it

Get_iplayer is a command line program, so first open a terminal.

If you type get_iplayer, the program will fetch a list of all the available programmes (close to 1000!).

Alternatively, you can use get_iplayer "Programme Name" to search for something in particular, and you’ll get a partial list instead.

get_iplayer return for QI

When you have worked out what you want to download, make a note of the number next to it in the list. Then enter this command:

get_iplayer --get 097 --output ~/Videos/ --tvmode=flashhd,flashvhigh

In the above command, replace 097 with the number of the programme, and change ~/Videos/ to another directory if you’d like the file to go somewhere else. The --tvmode options ask for HD quality if available, and downloads the next best quality if it isn’t.

Your file will now download. Enjoy!



I'm a regular user of get_iplayer outside of the UK, in France. I can do this because I use British satellite broadband IPS , which gives me a British ip. There are a number of British ISP companies that offer this Europe wide service. I'll be happy to post the company I use, if requested.

I think the EU is currently considering legislation that would prevent the BBC from blocking content in other European countries. IMO that would be a great move, it's not like the license payers care about other people watching the content we paid for.

Can't see why the BBC hasn't set up an overseas subscription service. It's not like it's a huge amount of money for a TV license.

I would like to add, I do pay for a TV license for my UK address.

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