Winter is coming – and so are those long, cold nights. Not to mention the long, cold weekends. And those long, cold mornings. It’s at times like this that BBC iPlayer comes into its own, giving you a chance to catch-up on any quality Beeb shows you may have missed, whether that’s science fiction, science fact, or haunting drama.
Here, then, are our top 10 TV shows and films on BBC iPlayer this week.
When was the last time you sat down and watched a good old-fashioned ghost story? They don’t happen as much on Freeview these days, so this haunting tale – good enough to lure Michael Palin out of retirement for a serious acting role – is a must-see on a chilly winter’s eve. It helps that it’s also rather flipping scary. With part three concluding tonight, you can still catch up on the first two episodes.
Available until: Tuesday 23rd December (Episode 1)
Cosmos (Carl Sagan) – The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean
If you’ve never seen Carl Sagan in action, you’re in for an astronomical treat with this award-winning series from 1980, which sees Mr. Blue Dot himself take us on a tour of the universe. Episode 1 was first re-broadcast on BBC Four on Sunday 9th November, with the Beeb listing other episodes as “coming soon”. Whether more are broadcast or not, this watershed moment for science-themed television offers a veritable galaxy of knowledge to explore. Love Brian Cox? You’ll love the man who inspired him.
Available until: 10.50pm, Tuesday 9th December (Episode 1)
The Fall Season 2
Gillian Anderson reprises her role as Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, who continues her increasingly desperate hunt for the serial murderer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan). Worryingly attractive and always well acted, if you haven’t started on Season 2 yet, there’s still time to catch up.
Available until: Saturday 13th December (Episode 1)
My Life in Science Fiction (iPlayer Exclusive)
The BBC is currently going through something of a sci-fi season – and in addition to the range of programming on the old goggle box, there are three exclusive iPlayer shows to enjoy. From exploring the BFI’s sci-fi season (some of which is available on BFI Player) and revealing tales from behind-the-scenes to a look at the fan culture surrounding the genre, these 20-minute shorts are just the kind of thing that iPlayer does well.
Available until: Sunday 21st December
The Thing from Another World
As well as the above iPlayer shorts, the BBC is showing a range of sci-fi movies and shows, from The Day of the Triffids and Minority Report to Moon and this 1951 classic, which sees scientists at an Arctic outpost find a crashed flying saucer with a body frozen nearby…
Available until: Monday 22nd December
Junior Bake Off (Junior Vets / Junior MasterChef)
Like The Great British Bake Off and MasterChef? These junior versions are a cute way to get your fix until GBBO returns.
The Furchester Hotel
CBeebies and Sesame Workshop have teamed up to make this madcap series about the best worst hotel since Fawlty Towers, which includes long-term guest Elmo and eternally-hungry employee Cookie Monster. From protecting sculptures and finding lost guests to delivering toast and (ahem) not eating guests who happen to be cookies, this is silly stuff for big and little Jim Henson fans alike.
Available until: Various (From Monday 8th December to February 2015)
Still haven’t caught up on David Attenborough’s latest? You’ve got until Tuesday to see Episode 3 – and almost a month to polish the final episode. Typically informative, enchanting stuff.
Available until: Tuesday 9th December (Episode 3)
It’s been a good year for tiny comedy on BBC Four. Hot on the heels of Detectorists comes the amiable and amusing Puppy Love, written by and starring The Thick of It’s Joanna Scanlan and her Getting On co-creator, Vicki Pepperdine. Scanlan stars as a dog trainer hoping to help Wirral’s residents with all their dogging needs. Woof.
Available until: Wednesday 17th December (Episode 1)
Photo: BBC/Mammoth Screen/Matt Squire