The BBC’s online streaming and catch-up service, BBC iPlayer, has all the shows and films produced by BBC you know and love, as well as their regular live TV broadcasts.
But since the service can only be accessed from within the UK, you will need a good VPN such as Surfshark to use the service from anywhere in the world including Canada.
If you don’t use a VPN, you would be allowed to access its website but not its free content. You will be greeted with the following message:
“BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues”
Anyone can sign up with BBC iPlayer for free with a VPN. The only thing you will need while registering with BBC iPlayer is a random UK postal code that you can look over on the internet.
If you want to get straight to unblocking BBC iPlayer, head over to our quick step guide. If you’d like to know more about what it has to offer, keep reading below.
What to Watch on BBC iPlayer?
The vast library of content that BBC iPlayer has to offer may be a bit daunting, and it can get a bit frustrating trying to decide on what to watch when you finally get it open.
Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered with some of our personal recommendations, so you can sit back, relax, and just start binging.
For starters, we recommend giving BBC’s Sherlock a try if you’re interested in mystery, and the charm of Benedict Cumberbatch resting on the foundations of Sir Conan Doyle’s classics.
More interested in fast cars and witty banter? Check out the numerous on-demand seasons of Top Gear, showcasing humorous adventures, supercars, and celebrities.
Want a crime drama where the protagonist is a detective that befriends and solves crime with a murderer? Luther gives you just that.
If it’s a sci-fi superhero show you’re looking for, Heroes, a show made before the superhero media boom of the late 2000s, is sure to please.
Want to know what your favorite celebrities are up to? Check out the popular talk show The Graham Norton Show, where Graham Norton questions and entertains famous personalities.
If you want a contemplative documentary, turn on Extinction: The Facts, where Sir David Attenborough discusses the consequences of the loss of biodiversity.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer in Canada using a VPN
Now you know that if you want to watch BBC iPlayer VPN is needed, but you don’t know how to proceed. Not to worry, because you can follow these quick and easy steps to get it set up:
Step 1: Subscribe to your VPN of choice (We recommend using Surfshark)
Step 2: Download and Install the VPN app
Step 3: Open the app and enter your login details
Step 4: Connect to a UK server
Step 5: Open BBC iPlayer, register or login, and binge to your heart’s content!
Which is the Best VPN to Unblock BBC iPlayer?
So, Canucks, now that you know how to unblock BBC iPlayer, you might be wondering which VPN is the best for doing so.
After testing multiple different VPNs with BBC iPlayer, we found that Surfshark works the best when unblocking the service in Canada.
Surfshark currently offers the cheapest subscription plan amongst all the other premium VPNs on this list, providing a 2-year subscription worth just $2.49/mo.
With a subscription to the VPN, you get access to it across an unlimited number of devices, letting you use Surfshark on your home computers and laptops, simultaneously.
Surfshark has UK servers spanning 3 cities, of a total of 3,200+ servers across 63 different countries, so you have quite a few options to ensure you can view BBC iPlayer in Canada.
Some features of the VPN include a camouflage mode, disguising you from your internet provider, and a white-lister, which allows you to select which programs can bypass the VPN.
Here’s an image of a stream of EastEnders on BBC iPlayer, unblocked using Surfshark:
If you aren’t convinced that Surfshark is the VPN for you, then you can check out some of the other premium VPNs we recommend below.
With a 2-year subscription plan worth $3.71/mo, NordVPN stacks up fairly well against Surfshark in terms of value for money.
Though a bit expensive than Surfshark, it has 400 UK servers, out of a total of 5402 servers across 59 countries, which can be accessed on 6 devices simultaneously.
What this means is that you’ll have an easier time finding a backup to your VPN connection in case the one you’re using fails, so your BBC iPlayer experience isn’t ruined.
NordVPN also has features like double-protection, allowing you to change your IP address twice, and CyberSec, preventing you from accessing malicious content and adware.
Just like money other VPNs on this list, NordVPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test out how the service works with BBC iPlayer before you commit.
ExpressVPN provides a 1-year plan worth $8.32/mo, complete with the usual 30-day money-back guarantee. This short subscription is great for those that don’t want a long commitment.
This VPN has over 3000 servers across 94 countries, and 4 of its locations are in the UK.
ExpressVPN comes with a very convenient built-in speed test feature, which lets you know which servers are currently the best for when you want to watch BBC iPlayer shows.
CyberGhost is a fairly simple and straightforward VPN, and the second cheapest one on this list, offering an 18-month subscription plan worth $2.75/mo.
What’s great for those of you that are still iffy about VPNs, CyberGhost has an even longer ‘trial period’, offering a 45-day money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost provides a clean, easily accessible UI; offers protection from the dangers of the internet; and also contains a kill-switch, preventing potential harm in case the VPN disconnects.
The VPN comes with a perfect feature for BBC iPlayer browsing: servers specifically meant for streaming, ensuring you get the best experience while you watch your favorite show.
IPVanish may be an underdog in comparison to all the titanic VPNs, but its 1-year plan worth $6.49/mo, with a 30-day money-back guarantee, is just as good as any others.
What really makes this tiny VPN special is its 250GBs of cloud storage at SugarSync, offered at no extra cost – secured with IPVanish’s encryption – something which no other VPN provides.
With this subscription, you get access to 1500+ servers across 75+ locations. 105 of these are UK servers and will easily grant you access to BBC iPlayer.
An old player in the VPN game, Hotspot Shield is highly renowned. Its current yearly plan is worth $7.99/mo and offers a 45-day money-back guarantee just like CyberGhost.
With servers in 2 UK cities, out of a total of 3200+ across 80+ countries, Hotspot shield offers a modest but reliable selection.
Hotspot Shield may not be as heavily equipped as the other VPNs, but it is trusted and offers military-grade encryption, so you can be certain that you’re safe while you watch BBC iPlayer.
PrivateVPN offers servers in 2 UK cities, out of a total of 150+ in 60 countries. Its special offer on a 13-month plan is a steal, coming in at just $3.82/mo.
This VPN offers access to its servers across 6 devices simultaneously, so you can browse and stream BBC iPlayer whether you’re at home or on-the-go.
And of course, it comes with the standard 30-day money-back guarantee.
Why Use a Premium VPN when Using BBC iPlayer?
We’ve shown you how to unblock BBC iPlayer in Canada, but you might still be wondering why the service is blocked in the first place, and how VPNs work. We’ll try and clarify a bit.
As the service itself says, the restriction to the UK is due to rights issues. Certain companies own the rights to display particular content in certain regions.
Without proper license agreements with these companies, BBC iPlayer can’t show all the content they can otherwise show in the UK, which is why they simply restrict its accessibility.
There is also the issue with laws specific to regions regarding foreign content providers, which restrict foreign services from providing to certain localities.
That’s why you can’t watch BBC iPlayer abroad at all, and why a VPN is needed.
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) use special private servers to mimic a private network, allowing you to disguise your IP address, which is how you’re identified on the internet.
When you connect to a UK server using a VPN, you actually disguise your IP address to that of a UK one, so BBC iPlayer believes you’re accessing it from within the UK.
This disguise is what actually gives you access. So, it’s important that the service can’t tell the IP address is fake.
These private servers used by the VPN provider require money to maintain, which is why a ‘free’ service seems suspicious. There must necessarily be some revenue to keep servers running.
Though some free VPNs may just have limited options in terms of functionality and servers, most are hosts to malware and adware and should be avoided.
Some premium VPNs may not work with BBC iPlayer either, despite being good services, because the platform specifically blocks their servers.
The premium VPNs we’ve recommended, however, have been tested and have been found to work with BBC iPlayer in Canada.
BBC Canada Shutting Down?
Yes. BBC Canada has been shut down since December 31st, 2020. The channel has ceased its broadcasting in the region so the only way to watch BBC One, Two, or Three, you will need a VPN.
How can I watch BBC iPlayer abroad for free?
Though the BBC iPlayer service is free itself, if you want to watch it abroad there are no safe free options available. Premium paid VPNs are the best way to access this service as well as others.
Can I watch BBC iPlayer anywhere?
If by anywhere you mean to ask is it available on all devices? Yes, the service is available on both computers and mobile phones.
If you mean to ask if it’s available abroad. No, the service is restricted to use by UK-based users, and can only be accessed abroad with a VPN like Surfshark.
Other Streaming Services to Watch in Canada
Here is a list of other streaming services that are equally good as BBC iPlayer and you can watch it in Canada as well:
So now you know how VPNs can help give you access to BBC iPlayer in Canada. But they’re much more important than just being an unblocker for personal entertainment.
They’re pretty much necessary for personal safety in the world today, where so much of our lives are now linked to the internet.
With a VPN, not only can you browse the content that was restricted to you before, but you can do so knowing that your safety and data is being preserved.