'Wallander', 'French and Saunders' and the other boxsets arriving on BBC iPlayer to watch during self-isolation

A new set of boxsets will be available on BBC iPlayer. (BBC. Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

The BBC has sprung into action as a result of the coronavirus outbreak leaving many self-isolating at home with a lot more time on their hands.

The broadcaster announced changes to its TV and radio programming on Wednesday 18 March which will see the introduction of new initiatives including virtual church services and exercise routines for the elderly.

As people spend more time inside in order to curb the spread of the virus, the BBC is bringing back some first-rate shows in order for "people of all ages to escape into some top-quality entertainment both on [BBC] channels and on BBC iPlayer".

Many will be delighted at the prospect of using the time at home to revisit some classic programmes while a whole new audience will now be able to experience them.

Here's the boxsets viewers can expect to become available on the platform soon - and what they're all about.


All ten series of Spooks are on iPlayer. (BBC)

Named after the slang name for the MI-5 agents the series focuses on, Spooks was a popular hit for its 10 series run between 2002 and 2011. It also spawned a film Spooks: The Greater Good, which was released in 2015.

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The spy drama boasts an impressive cast list with names including Peter Firth, Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes being just some of the stars of the series.

The Missing

The Missing explores the fall-out of a child's abduction. (BBC)

Anthology drama series The Missing made its debut in 2014 and boasts two series, with both exploring the effects of a child's abduction. Seasons one and two had stellar names attached, including James Nesbitt and Frances O'Connor along with Tcheky Karyo who also appeared in the second instalment with David Morrissey and Keeley Hawes.

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The series ended up landing four nominations at the 2015 Baftas, as well as nods from the Golden Globes and Critics' Choice for the first season.

Waking The Dead

Waking the Dead is set to be on the platform. (BBC)

Waking the Dead, a classic police procedural drama series, is set in a cold case unit of the London police. Beginning in 2000, it lasted for nine series until 2011 with one episode from series three garnering an International Emmy Award in 2004.

The cast is lead by Trevor Eve along with Sue Johnston and Will Johnson.

French and Saunders

Comic actors Dawn French (left) and Jennifer Saunders in a sketch from the television comedy show 'French and Saunders', February 6th 1988. (Photo by Don Smith/Radio Times/Getty Images)

Double act Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders launched French and Saunders in 1987, and quickly established their status as legendary UK comics.

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Their sketches satirised pop culture and modern life across its seven seasons producing memorable skits including a Bjork parody and a rib-tickling Titanic spoof that certainly stand the test of time.


Kenneth Brannagh as titular character Wallander. (BBC)

Swedish novelist Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander books were adapted into an English language production for the first time with Kenneth Branagh fronted series Wallander.

It has produced 12 episodes over four seasons during its time on air between 2008 to 2016. Another hit with critics, it won six Baftas during its run.

The Honourable Woman

The Honourable Woman will be one of the programmes making an appearance on iPlayer. (BBC)

Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in the title role of The Honourable Woman, a political spy thriller which originally hit screens in 2014. After witnessing her father's assassination as a child, she's uncharge of the family business years later and it falls to her to promote a reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

The slow-burning series was met with acclaim as Gyllenhaal won a Best Actress gong at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards for her efforts.