Photo Wired UK
Watch BBC iPlayer in Italy, Live Broadcast for FREE. Photo Wired UK

Those not in the UK will find that all of the BBC's streaming content is unavailable. This is thanks to distribution rights and the aforementioned TV licence fee. However, if you're out of the country there's a nifty trick you can use to get around this.

If you sign up for the best VPN, you'll be able to change your location to the UK and trick the BBC website into thinking that you're in the country. Our top iPlayer VPN recommendation is ExpressVPN, thanks to its powerful apps, excellent unblocking power, unrivalled speeds and stellar support system.

So, for example, if you're in Europe visiting family or for work, you won't be able to watch BBC live, even though you've paid your TV licence. But, by using ExpressVPN you can select a UK VPN server and virtually relocate.

What is the best VPN for the BBC iPlayer in Italy?

1. ExpressVPN

If you're looking to stream BBC live outside the UK, a VPN is essential – and our #1 choice is ExpressVPN. With searing speeds and easy-to-use apps that work on tons of devices like Roku, Fire Stick, and Apple TV, as well as desktop and mobile, it's the perfect solution for accessing blocked content. Plus, you'll have 30 days to test the service before you commit.

2. NordVPN

NordVPN has long been a great option for watching iPlayer abroad, with swift connection speeds, plenty of servers and great security. NordVPN is also optimized for P2P, so if you’re a keen torrenter it’s a great torrenting VPN, too.

With an effective kill switch, DNS leak protection and 2048-bit encryption, the security conscious will feel safe while streaming from BBC iPlayer with NordVPN.

If problems arise, the live-chat support will get you streaming in no time and, although some billing plans are a little pricey, NordVPN definitely earns its place on our top BBC iPlayer VPN list.

3. Surfshark

Don’t be fooled by the bargain-basement price – Surfshark is a top-notch VPN that offers just as much as many of its pricier rivals. Offering decent speeds which will be perfect for streaming as well as unlimited simultaneous connections, Surfshark is a wallet-friendly way to access BBC iPlayer.

Far from being a basic VPN, Surfshark offers great security with its private DNS on each server, and a double-hop ability to further obfuscate your location to ensure ultimate privacy. Add to this P2P support, split tunnelling and more, and you’ve got a premium package.

The easy set-up, unlimited simultaneous connections and quick live-chat support make Surfshark the cheapest way to stream BBC iPlayer abroad with a VPN.

Why should you use a VPN to watch BBC live in Italy?

The first and most important reason to use a VPN with BBC iPlayer is to get access to free content anywhere in the world. So, if you're in Canada, the US, or anywhere else, you can connect to a UK server and log in to the BBC as if you were in your living room.

There's more to it than that, though. If you have a good Internet connection but still find that iPlayer is buffering or playing at a low quality, it could be because you're being subjected to network throttling.

This happens when your ISP detects high-bandwidth usage of your connection and intentionally slows you down to make sure everyone gets a similar speed. High-bandwidth uses include torrenting, gaming, and, of course, streaming HD content.

A VPN anonymizes what you're using your connection for, which means your provider can't tell you're streaming. Subsequently, it can't choose to slow down your connection.

Plus, a VPN gives unrivalled privacy and security for any kind of browsing, so if you want to watch iPlayer live abroad as well as keep your personal info safe, a secure VPN is the perfect solution.

BBC iPlayer tips, tricks and features

Sign up for a BBC account

Originally you could watch all iPlayer content without having an account, but now the service requires all viewers to sign up and log in to watch anything.

Signing up for iPlayer gives you plenty of perks such as tailored recommendations, synced favourites lists and seamless playback across all your devices.

Pay your licence fee

Previously, you didn't have to pay the licence fee if you only watched on-demand content on iPlayer; you had to pay the annual £145.50 fee only if you were watching programmes live.

But since September 2016, that's no longer the case. You need a valid TV licence to legally watch anything on iPlayer, live or on-demand - and it currently costs £154.50/year for a colour license and, err, £52/year for a black and white license.

Homepage interface

Your BBC ID also helps the Beeb learn your viewing tastes, and tailor the homepage to display shows you might be interested in.

So along with the top 40 most popular shows and new programmes blazoned across the main page, you'll also get blocks of shows recommended just for you.

The homepage's grid-like display shows off a mix of everything that iPlayer offers: TV boxsets and returning shows to brand new shows, comedy picks and a long list of David Attenborough nature documentaries.


Tap 'Menu' at the top left corner of the app screen, or pull down on the main interface, and you'll find the drop-down navigation menu for all the sections in iPlayer. On the website, this menu is simply a bar at the top of the iPlayer homepage.

Here you can access all the BBC channels, the TV guide, refine your programme search by category (or simply type in the show name in the search field), and the My Programmes section where you'll find your viewing history, bookmarked and downloaded shows.


Scroll right to the end of the page (or go to the app's settings), and you'll find an option to change your location to any of the UK regions.

Unfortunately, iPlayer is only available within the UK so if you're holidaying abroad we'd make sure you've downloaded the shows you want to watch before your departure. Or there's always a VPN you can use (see below for deals).


You can also change the language from English to Welsh, Irish Gaelic or Scottish Gaelic within the app's settings or at the bottom of the webpage.

Watch in HD

If your broadband can handle it (the BBC recommends at least 3.2Mbps) then you can stream certain content in HD. Depending on the version of iPlayer you're using, either select Watch in HD or toggle the HD on/off switch. You can also download programmes in HD to watch offline, although if you're using your phone's 3G connection, be wary of exceeding your data allowance.

Live Restart

If streaming live channels, a neat feature of iPlayer is being able to restart most live programmes from the beginning by clicking 'Restart the current programme'.

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