Download BBC iPlayer content on Ubuntu 18.04

by Hadley Bradley

We’re in the process of getting a new Sky box, which means we’ll probably loose everything we’ve recorded on the old one. So I started investigating a way to download the BBC shows we like to watch on my Ububtu development laptop.

After a little research I found that a man called Phil Lewis had developed a command line tool for downloading content from the BBC iPlayer service, allowing them to be saved to your local machine in a high quality MP4 format. The utility can download catch-up programmes from previous the thirty days TV and radio programmes from BBC iPlayer/BBC Sounds.

To install the tool on Ubuntu Linux 18.04, use the following command from the terminal:-

sudo snap install get-iplayer

Once the software has been installed, then you can search for the programmes you’re interested in. My wife and I like “Last Tango in Halifax” so I searched like:

get-iplayer 'halifax'

Which returns the list of episodes available.

Matches:
3669:	Last Tango in Halifax: Series 5 - Episode 1, BBC One, m000fs1z
3670:	Last Tango in Halifax: Series 5 - Episode 2, BBC One, m000g09w
3671:	Last Tango in Halifax: Series 5 - Episode 3, BBC One, m000g74r
3672:	Last Tango in Halifax: Series 5 - Episode 4, BBC One, m000ggxh
INFO: 4 matching programmes

To download episode 3 you’d issue the command with the –get option and specify the number in the leftmost column. Like:

get-iplayer --get 3671

You can also search for and download radio programmes. For example, to search for the Archers, you’d issue the command with the –type option specifying radio as the type of content to filter by. Entering your search term within speech marks.

 get_iplayer --type=radio "archers"