The iPlayer is better for films and documentaries than you might think – just be prepared to rummage around
Amid the distractions of Netflix, and the ongoing search for new and unusual streaming services, I admit I’ve rather neglected a faithful standby. In addition to its obvious uses as a TV catch-up service, the BBC iPlayer rarely gets much credit or promotion for the breadth and intelligence of its film selection: too often I forget to check what’s on its menu for a couple of weeks, and am surprised by the accumulated treasures when I return.
At the moment, for example, you can catch gems as assorted as Ben Wheatley’s excellent family-feud tragicomedy Happy New Year, Colin Burstead, Nicholas Ray’s stony-hard 1952 noir On Dangerous Ground or Miloš Forman’s whirling Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon – all streaming, of course, for free. Like an eccentric but generous auntie, the iPlayer always has some manner of treat in its bag if you just rummage around for it. Covering its highlights for this column, however, can be tricky when many films have such short, limited streaming windows: like a more haphazardly structured version of Mubi, it’s not a model that permits a lot of procrastination.