How to watch Strictly Come Dancing from abroad

It's easier than you may think...

Strictly winner

by Jack Barrell |
Updated on

BBC's Strictly Come Dancing is waltzing back onto our screen this September, following on from last year’s monumental 20th series. There’s a whole new roster of Strictly Come Dancing celebs waiting to slip on their ballroom shoes and give us another showstopping 13 weeks. Season 21 holds serious promise, and we can’t wait for this TV national treasure to return to our screens.

Big names this year include TV presenter Angela Rippon and adorers of the West End will be thrilled to see Layton Williams making the bill, famously known as the lead star in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Viewers will also be seeing a familiar face in Emmerdale star-turned-TV presenter Adam Thomas and Krishnan Guru-Murthy, leading news anchor on Channel 4 news. That’s only a snippet of some of the big personalities you can expect from this year’s Strictly Come Dancing outing.

The following for Strictly has grown exponentially since it first landed on BBC One in 2004, now uniting fans worldwide. If you’re an international fan, or you’re just not going to be in the UK while Season 21 is airing, you may be wondering, “How can I watch Strictly from abroad?" Without catching a direct flight to Gatwick that is!

Thankfully, there’s a very simple solution. All you need is a VPN and an internet connection. Strictly airs on the home of British television, BBC One, and the on-demand service BBC iPlayer. This streaming service can only be accessed on UK internet servers, an obstacle most people face when trying to watch Strictly from overseas. Fortunately, with the gift of a VPN, you can access iPlayer from anywhere in the world and never miss a beat. Stay up to date with the competition and get your Strictly votes in to save your favourite dancing duo.

What is a VPN?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. This is an easy-to-use tool that protects your internet connection between device and network. It’s first and foremost a privacy safeguard, but it also allows users to change their online location to access regional content like BBC iPlayer if you’re abroad.

They are legal, safe and simple to operate.

Best VPN to watch Strictly

Price: £5.42 per month+

It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling abroad or you’re an avid international viewer of British TV. You can watch Strictly Come Dancing for free with a VPN wherever you are, courtesy of ExpressVPN. This is a VPN that trumps any competition. It’s a first choice for streaming and it’s perfect for watching Strictly abroad. It's £5.42 p/m for one year, plus three months free. Not to mention, Express has a 30-day money-back guarantee. There are also other packages available including one-month subscriptions.


  • Fast and reliable
  • First choice for streaming
  • Great customer support

How to use a VPN to watch Strictly abroad

So, you refuse to miss a minute of Strictly and you’ve grabbed yourself a reliable VPN. Now all you need to do is download the app to your smartphone, tablet or laptop, and the rest couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is:

• Open your VPN app 
• Choose a UK server from the list of countries available 
• Now load up the BBC iPlayer app if you are on a tablet or smartphone. If you are using a laptop or PC, open your internet browser and head to the BBC iPlayer website.  
• Sign into your iPlayer account and get watching.

Accessing BBC iPlayer from abroad is still completely free of charge, and other UK on-demand services like iPlayer ITVX, and All 4 can also be accessed this way. Note that if you are a UK resident, the only condition for using one of these streaming services is that you need a TV license.

Other safety benefits of using a VPN at home or abroad

You can imagine a VPN as being like a secret tunnel for your internet connection. It keeps you safe by hiding what you do online from others. Here's how it helps:

Protects you: Imagine sending a secret letter in a unique code. A VPN does that with your online stuff, so hackers can't read it.

Hides you: It's like wearing an invisible mask. Websites can't see who you are or where you are. No creepy ads following you around.

Gets you in: If some websites are blocked where you are, a VPN can help you sneak in and see them.

Keeps you safe in public: Using Wi-Fi in cafes can be risky. A VPN shields you from bad guys trying to steal your info. Perfect for online banking when you're on holiday.

Protects you when shopping: When you shop online, a VPN makes sure your money info is locked up and can't be read by prying eyes.

Just remember, while a VPN is a hugely helpful tool for keeping you safe online, it's important to pick a trustworthy one. It's like choosing a good friend to keep your secrets. All the VPNs we recommend in this article are highly reputable - we even use them ourselves for travel and keeping safe online.

Yes! VPNs are legal in most countries around the world, including Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. Although it might feel a little bit cheeky, accessing country-restricted content with a VPN is also totally legal and above board.

Remember, using a VPN to cover illegal activity is still illegal and unacceptable. Always make sure to research the VPN and online privacy laws in your residing country too.

Other VPNs to consider:

• NordVPN from £3.19 p/m View offer on NordVPN 
• Surfshark from £1.96 p/m View offer on Surfshark 
• CyberGhost from £1.92 p/m View offer on CyberGhost 
• Private Internet Access £1.67 p/m View offer on PIA

All prices correct at time of writing.

How to use a VPN in general

Behind the scenes, VPNs are quite technical. Luckily for us, the best VPN providers make them a breeze to wrap your head around.

After you've subscribed to a service, download the dedicated app, like ExpressVPN, and you can log in to your account.

Now you're in, you’ll see a list of countries that have servers you can connect to. Select the one you want, and the app will do the rest.

Once the VPN has connected, you can use the internet and internet services as you normally would.

A few quirks of using a VPN to look out for…

You might have to log in to accounts that you're usually automatically logged into.

Your internet speed might be a little slower than usual. This is normal with a VPN, but it’s important to do your research for the best VPN possible so your experience can be as seamless as possible.

That's it! Happy streaming, Strictly fans – see you at the ballroom.

Jack Barrell is a Commercial Content Writer specialising in VPNs. He's hands-on when it comes to producing best-of articles, how-to guides, and product reviews for Virtual Private Networks. On his off-days, Jack can be found in the gym, at the movies, or flicking through a car mag.


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