Sorry, this programme is currently unavailable

I am a great fan and user of BBC iPlayer, great for catching up on what you have missed and for watching things again (especially when repeated on BBC Three at an unsociable time).

I will often use an iPod touch to watch programmes, either in bed or more often then not connected to my TV. However now and again I get the following message.

Sorry, this programme is currently unavailable

You can see this in the Christmas edition of Doctor Who.

Sorry, this programme is currently unavailable

This means that you have to use a computer to watch the programme. I get the same “error” with the comedy Outnumbered episode seven (but not with the previous six episodes of Outnumbered).

I believe that the error (it’s not really an error, but I think it is) is a rights issue. In other words the rights holders have not allowed the programme to be made available to the iPod touch (or the iPhone).


Well I suspect that the issue is the way in which BBC iPlayer works on the iPod touch and the iPhone. Basically the BBC serve the iPhone with a DRM free MOV version of the programme. On the iPhone you can’t save this file, so it is not an issue, however a quick Google search provides various ways in which you can get your computer to pretend it’s an iPhone and as a result are able to download the DRM free version of the BBC programme.

Of course I don’t know for sure if this is the issue, or it is a technical problem and the programme just hasn’t (yet) been encoded for the iPhone and the festive break is the cause of the delay.

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