BBC Worldwide today began offering a selection of TV shows through the iTunes Store in the UK.

The BBC is the first UK broadcaster to offer television programmes on iTunes which can be purchased for £1.89 per episode and then viewed on a Mac or PC, iPod with video, iPhone or Apple TV.

"We want to give audiences a wide variety of options on how and where to view their favourite BBC shows,” said Simon Danker, director of digital media at BBC Worldwide.  "With more people now choosing to watch TV shows on their iPods, fans of series such as The Mighty Boosh and The Catherine Tate Show can now enjoy those shows wherever they are."

"Television programming has been incredibly popular with iTunes customers in the UK," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes. "We're thrilled to add hit programming from the BBC with favourites including the latest ratings winner, Ashes to Ashes.”

Starting today, fans can get the latest Torchwood, Life On Mars, Little Britain, Spooks, Robin Hood and other BBC classics from iTunes to purchase episodes they may have missed or would like to see again. Recently aired programmes, such as Ashes to Ashes, will be available on iTunes eight days after they have been screened.  

Making BBC programming available on the iTunes Store is key to BBC Worldwide's stated objective to secure the broadest possible distribution strategy for its huge range of television content. 

Alongside the company's existing deals with online outlets such as YouTube and MySpace and in addition to its recently announced Video on Demand (VOD) service with ITV and C4 called 'Project Kangaroo', the availability of programming on iTunes brings the BBC’s content to millions of new viewers.

iTunes customers outside the UK will not be able to purchase the shows.

BBC Worldwide Limited is the main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). It exists to maximise the value of the BBC’s assets for the benefit of the licence payer and invest in public service programming in return for rights. In 2006/07 BBC Worldwide generated profits of £111 million on sales of £810 million.