Downloading BBC programmes - get_iPlayer


Just discovered a handy little resource that lets you download anything on BBC iPlayer without the usual DRM time limit; in other words, you can keep it permanently

Available (free!) at

You do need a basic familiarity with the command line, but it is very basic and fully explained—with examples—in the documentation.


It even runs on Windows and Mac as well as Unix. Highly recommended.


It runs, but in Terminal / Command Line. Not everyone is comfortable with—or even aware of—that, hence the warning.


A “worked example”:

Let’s say you want to download an edition of Horizon:

First search for it, using:

get_iplayer “programme name”:


The simplest way to download a particular programme is:

get_iplayer --get [index number]

…where the index number is the number at the beginning of each entry in the list.

Let’s say we want to download the edition about the body clock. The index number is 3007, so enter:

get_iplayer --get 3007

It should then start downloading:


If you’re not the UK, of course, you’ll need to have some way of making iPlayer think you are; a reliable VPN works perfectly.


The BBC has a policy of blocking VPN providers when it finds out about them. It does not, as a rule, block commercial server-hosting facilities.

So I’m told.


A couple of times it’s been blocked, but usually it’s sorted within a few hours. I’m on a subscription service, which probably makes a difference.

Alternative suggestions are always welcome, though…


Oh you guys.

You’re such japesters.

Nothing quite like tech-savvy people for not realising how stuff like this bewilders ordinary folk.

Have fun though.


Not really that techie…

The ability to dodge the irritating time limit on catching up with the occasional programme actually worth watching is worth the effort.


I’ve been using it for years. Gets a big thumbs up from me.


Ooooo clever…

Thank you

I am glad yon bull of mine is techie minded


Cool! I didn’t know about this; now I do … and it works just great on Linux, once you remember to install “ffmpeg” package as well, or you can end up with separate audio and video files, and video in a format VLC won’t play. OK, I do need to run it from a virtual machine with a VPN route, but that’s not a problem for me (it’s a private VPN, so it’s very unlikely to get blocked).

Thanks :slight_smile:


So. Not techie at all. :scream::scream:


There there, when the machines take over you’ll barely notice except that things will be better run.