The Terror on BBC iPlayer ’till 2022

Update January 2024 – both these great shows are unfortunately no longer on BBC iPlayer.  I’ll update if this changes.

Some people are visiting this page looking for the American drama series – The Terror: Infamy which is different from the period drama/horror show below.  If you’re one of those people, you are actually in luck as it is actually available on BBC iPlayer here – BBC iPlayer – The Terror: Infamy.

Unfortunately, Ridley Scott’s wonderful drama described below has been removed from the BBC archive, it may return at any point though.

Watching the Terror on BBC iPlayer

There’s a great new horror/period drama on BBC iPlayer at the moment called The Terror.  It was released about three years ago on US Television so it’s taken a while to reach UK TV.  However as it’s now on the BBC iPlayer anyone in the UK or anyone outside using a VPN has got nearly twelve months left to enjoy this fabulous story.  According to the current BBC iPlayer schedules, The Terror will be available until February 2022.

Here’s the trailer for the show produced by Ridley Scott-

It’s actually based on a true life story of an ill fated Royal Navy expedition in 1845. The goal was to find the mythical Northwest Passage, a simple short cut to the Pacific via an Arctic sea. Unfortunately this doesn’t actually exist but many brave men lost their lives searching for it, before this fact was established. The expedition consisted of some 140 men and two ships – The Erebus and The Terror two of the Royal Navy’s most advanced ships at the time.

The ships were commanded by Sir John Franklin (Ciaran Hinds) and Francis Crozier (Jared Harris), two Royal Navy Captains entrusted with this mission. Unfortunately the it was to end in disaster and none of the ships or men were seen again, although the wrecks of the two ships were discovered in 2014 by the Canadians.  Although some of the story is purely fictional, large parts are based on the real life events.  The characters are real both the crew on the ship and the back story told in the UK.   Also many of the events depicted in this 10 part series were also believed to have taken place from the investigations which have subsequently taken place.

HMS-Terror Commons Creative

Indeed apart from the supernatural component in the story, the majority of the story is quite possibly completely true.  Many of the events depicted in this drama are believed to have occurred.   The main story takes place when both ships become locked in the ice of the Arctic Circle.  Although the ships were well provisioned and able to withstand a long period of time stuck, it seems that was insufficient.    The Terror tells the tale of the men who tried to survive in the face of an ‘environment that just wants them dead’ as the Captain describes it.

BBC The Terror – a Horror Masterpiece

It’s also a horror story where the men were attacked by a supernatural force in addition to all the normal physical hardships they had to endure.  The story moves slowly in parts but this helps to slowly build the tension of the crew’s struggle.  To be honest, I was not entirely convinced the supernatural element was needed, the situation became so horrific without this anyway.  The show is wonderful though, you can feel the growing tension slowly building as the men’s options are reduced. You’re drawn into the claustrophobic atmosphere of the two stranded ships which become little more than prisons for the 140 plus men.

It’s well worth watching and is worthy of the BBC’s own period dramas, you can see the quality in the whole production.  As mentioned, it’s available on BBC iPlayer until March 2022 free of charge to UK residents.  Anyone outside the United Kingdom will need an inexpensive VPN to watch, it’s terribly easy to do and worth the small investment.  It’s a great source of entertainment used by millions of people across the world from France to Australia.

Of course, nobody knows exactly what actually happened to the real expedition although there’s been a lot of investigation especially since the shipwrecks were discovered.   If you want to read more then there are a few books, including one written by Michael Palin called Erebus: The Story of a Ship.

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