BBC Doesn't Want to iPlayer Anymore?

UPDATE 23/12/10: iPlayer Downloader has been updated, switching from iplayer-dl to get_iplayer, and now seems to work. Download link below…


Since December 10th, we’ve been receiving more and more reports of Beeb Downloader not working.

This has now been confirmed by the author of the script at the heart of Beeb Downloader: “BBC fights against openness again”. You can also read the BBC’s position.

Until a solution is found, keep trying to use the latest version of Beeb Downloader, as failures seem to be intermittent (for now).

We know that Beeb Downloader is popular amongst those running older versions of OSX, like Tiger. But, for newer OSX versions, please try out these two alternatives built around get_iplayer:

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions, ideas or workarounds.

December 13th, 2010

Latest Release - Beeb v1.20

  • Repackaged, contains latest version of iplayer-dl (v.0.1.20) (3 Sep ‘10)

  • Basic functionality remains the same, see the About page for background info and instructions.

TIP: The best way to check if any errors you are seeing are caused by Beeb Downloader or a change on the BBC’s iPlayer network is to try and view the programme you want on an iPhone or iPod Touch. Beeb Downloader is only able to download programmes that those devices can ‘see’. If not, wait a few days and try again.

If you get any strange errors, please let us know via the Contact form…

November 23rd, 2010

BBC Releases iPlayer Desktop for Mac

December 19, 2008: BBC releases iPlayer Desktop app for Mac, Linux and PC. Powered by Adobe AIR & DRM - no more P2P either. Let’s you download and watch shows offline, but doesn’t let you keep them indefinitely. Beeb Downloader still has a place. Curious? Install here…

December 19th, 2008

Stephen Fry's Mother: iPlayer Downloader

Excerpt from a speech by Stephen Fry on the future of public service broadcasting, in which he mentions the potential of his mother downloading content from the iPlayer. Full speech is on the iPlayer.

May 12th, 2008

"It’s all in the database"

Orwellian and sinister… must be 1984 again. Read more…

May 2nd, 2008

The Magical Floating iPlayer

Here’s a (Leopard) multi-tasking tip to view any iPlayer stream on your desktop while you are ‘working’ on that important document or presentation:


Using Safari’s Webclip feature to view the iPlayer content as a Dashboard Widget. First you need to enable Dashboard’s ‘devmode’ - this allows you to float a Widget on your desktop outside of Dashboard. You only need to do this once, devmode will be enabled permanently.

  • Open Terminal and copy/paste these 2 lines:
  • defaults write devmode YES
    killall Dock

Get your iPlayer programme:

  1. In Safari goto the iPlayer page with the programme you want to watch.
  2. Click File > Open in Dashboard… - a purple toolbar will appear.
  3. Click the iPlayer’s ‘Play’ button to ‘clip’ the iPlayer.
  4. Click the ‘Add’ button - Dashboard will open and load the iPlayer Webclip.
  5. Begin dragging the iPlayer Webclip - click and drag the top edge.
  6. While dragging the Webclip, press F12 - this exits Dashboard.
  7. Release the mouse button - iPlayer will now float on your Desktop.

Now you can get on with your work while ‘unmissing’ your favourite programme.

  • iPlayer Webclip will float above all your windows.
  • You can run multiple iPlayer Webclips.
  • Close the iPlayer Webclip by holding the option key and clicking the ‘x’.
  • To change the look of the outer frame, click the ‘i’ in the bottom right corner.

If you are using Tiger the Dash Clipping widget should let you do the same.

April 20th, 2008