BBC box sets and classic episodes will be shown on iPlayer over Christmas as the broadcaster seeks to expand catch-up service and compete with Netflix
- EastEnders, Peaky Blinders and Sherlock shows from past years made available
- This year is the first time the BBC has opened up box sets on such a large scale
- Director-general Tony Hall says iPlayer must be more than a catch-up service?
EastEnders fans will be able to watch the hit soap's past Christmas specials, including Den serving Angie with divorce papers in 1986 and Tiffany's death in 1998.
And Doctor Who lovers will be able to see every one of the sci-fi show's regeneration episodes from 2005 onward as well as the first three seasons of Peaky Blinders.
The broadcaster's announcement followed it signalling that the on-demand service will be at the centre of future broadcasting.
The first three seasons of Peaky Blinders are coming to the catch-up service this Christmas as the BBC seeks to expand its iPlayer to compete with Amazon and Netflix. Pictured: Cillian Murphy ?
This is the first time the BBC has made box sets available on iPlayer on such a large scale.
Shows available from December 16 will include the first three series of Peaky Blinders, with the latest series of the gang drama currently on air.
Series three and four of Sherlock, as well as 2016's special - The Abominable Bride - will also be available.?
Other box sets include hit series Taboo, starring Tom Hardy, drama Wolf Hall, all four series of Line Of Duty and both series of Happy Valley, starring Sarah Lancashire.
Series three and four of Sherlock - including last year's special The Abominable Bride - will also be available
The Blue Planet, which first aired in 2001, will also be available in full, as will?2006's Planet Earth, last year's Planet Earth II and 2011's Frozen Planet.
Comedy shows include Inside Number 9, Fleabag and This Country, all of which will be shown in full, as well as classic episodes of Gavin & Stacey, Bad Education, Josh, Murder In Successville and Him & Her.
BBC director-general Tony Hall has previously said he wants to 'reinvent the BBC for a new generation'.
Rival Amazon secured former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May for The Grand Tour, while Netflix has enjoyed huge success with The Crown.
Lord Hall says the broadcaster's on-demand service must evolve beyond its current appeal.?
'We need it to make the leap from a catch-up service to a must-visit destination in its own right,' he said.
Damian Lewis stars Henry VIII in Wolf Hall, which will be available on iPlayer over the Christmas period
'Our goal, even in the face of rapid growth by our competitors, is for iPlayer to be the number one online TV service in the UK.'
The BBC's director of content, Charlotte Moore, said on Tuesday the broadcaster had 'an even richer offer across the BBC than ever before'.
'We are always home to the very best British programmes during the festive season but with so much content to fit in, it's fantastic to give audiences a special gift on iPlayer to complement our schedules, with box sets of some of this year's biggest shows and a selection of more recent hits to binge on with family and friends together this Christmas,' she said.
Other Albert Square specials to go on iPlayer include Kat and Alfie's wedding from 2003, Max and Stacey's affair from 2007 and Archie's murder from 2009.
Much of the content will be available for 30 days.?
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