Living Abroad

How to watch UK TV abroad

Using a high quality VPN with fast UK servers will enable you to watch UK TV from abroad and access BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and more.

One of the things many UK expats and retirees who have moved abroad miss is British TV. You only have to turn on the TV abroad to appreciate just how good UK TV is! Sure, you are living abroad for a better job, climate and/or lifestyle. But you just can’t beat British TV.

If you have tried to access BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub or Channel 4 online (from abroad) you will have noticed a warning that:

This content is not available in your area” or “iPlayer only works in the UK due to licensing rights…


Nowadays most of us own a smartphone, tablet or computer. Through tech wizardry that is running in the background, BBC, ITV, Channel 4 (and others) will know your location (it is known as an IP Address) and determine whether you are in the UK or not.

If you are abroad right now (or intending to move abroad) then resolving this problem will give you hours of TV pleasure being able to access British TV just as if you were still back in Blighty!

VPN – ‘Virtual’ Private Network

The clue is in the name. “Virtual” means that using a VPN means that you can choose which country you “appear” to be accessing the internet from. This is handy if you live in China and wish to access “the real world” of the internet and not just government approved websites. It is also useful if you want to watch BBC iPlayer from the comfort of your home in Spain, Thailand, Hong Kong, or wherever you may be outside the UK.

Free or Paid?

There are many “Free” VPN Services available if you search on Google. Forget them ALL! They are as good as useless. Any that do work attract too many users and quickly grind to a halt. You need a relatively smooth and fast VPN connection to “stream” video and watch TV online without it starting/stopping every other minute (it’s called “buffering“) – you don’t need to know about it – other than it’s a pain ass!

You get what you Pay For

I have used a Paid VPN for nearly 10 years now and I wouldn’t be without one. I have used a few companies for this service and found Nord VPN to offer the best value terms of Cost, Reliability & Speed. I watch BBC iPlayer daily, as well as ITV (I am a big Doc Martin and Formula 1 fan!) and the great Channel 4 Documentaries and Films.

Did you know that Netflix is also regional?

Yes that’s right. Netflix is regional specific, meaning that the content it serves to Netflix U.K. customers is different to say, Netflix Spain, Netflix Thailand, Netflix USA etc. etc. You will only get the Netflix “Top Most Poplar in the U.K.” when abroad if you view Netflix via a VPN that has servers in the U.K. Annoying right?

NordVPN How to Watch UK TV from abroad
Watch UK TV from abroad

Take a longer term view

To get the best value from a VPN service provider it is definitely worthwhile to commit to a longer term plan/contract. They do not usually automatically renew, but you do save a lot if you are happy to opt for a 12, 24 or 36 month deal (I have renewed my 3-year VPN contract with Nord VPN 3 times now!)


It is also comforting to know that when I access websites online (I am not talking about criminal activity or perversions here!) then my internet service provider (ISP – the company I pay for my fibre broadband in my house) cannot snoop, spy or track me in anyway. Everyone should be concerned about ‘big brother’ and the less people know about your activities the better!

Imagine VPN as a secure, encrypted tunnel for online traffic to flow. Nobody can see through the tunnel and get their hands on your internet data. NordVPN gives you peace of mind each time you use public Wi-Fi, access personal and work accounts on the road, or want to keep your browsing history to yourself.

Accessing Banks online is also far easier

How do you think your UK Bank system is going to react if you usually access online banking from the UK and all of a sudden you are trying to login to online banking from another country? I forget the amount of times I have had to call (at my expense) the UK to unblock online banking because their systems have detected “unusual activity on my account” and suspended my online banking facility. Errrgh.

It still happens to this day, but thankfully much less often when I remember to turn on my Nord VPN and select “UK” as my address. My UK Bank system is less likely to blow a fuse if it ‘thinks‘ I am in the UK rather than Asia!

Protect all your devices easily with one account

Do you use Windows at work, macOS at home, and Linux for your special projects? No problem. There’s a NordVPN application for each of these, plus apps for iOS, Android, and Android TV. Oh, and also encrypted proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Best of all, with one NordVPN account, you can secure up to 6 devices at the same time.

COVID-19 Lockdown

It goes without saying that being able to access British TV during Lockdown in Asia is a lifesaver. Without access I think I would have gone Nuts!

Use Nord VPN

(You can thank me later)

I wouldn’t recommend any product or service unless I have it, use it and I am happy with it. As a very long term customer of Nord VPN I can wholeheartedly recommend the company and find their pricing, reliability, connection speeds and software all excellent. In February 2020 I renewed my contract for a further 3 years, which speaks for itself.

NordVPN How to Watch UK TV from abroad

Nord VPN Website

Click on the Nord VPN Logo to see the latest deals (affiliate link)

Online Security

In addition to accessing U.K. based entertainment T.V. channels from abroad, a VPN will also help protect you online.

The following is a must read: Credit Card & Online Security Abroad