How to Watch British Soaps Online

I’m not shy about admitting that I’m an Eastie – an EastEnders fan. I’ve been watching Britain’s most popular soap since I arrived in England and switched the channel over to BBC One in 1988.

eastenders opening credits

But after moving back to the States it became hit and miss trying to keep up with the program. There used to be dozens of PBS stations nationwide airing the show but sadly it has dwindled down to just one or two now and the episodes they’re airing are about seven or eight years behind. (And don’t get me started on how BBC America dropped EastEnders back in 2003 after getting tons of viewers sucked into it, only to move it to Pay-Per-View so we had to pay for it.)

In order to keep up with current episodes one had to find a streaming service online, which wasn’t always reliable. Of course there are VPN services but not everyone feels comfortable using them.

Good News!

The good news is that now I’m finding current episodes being uploaded to YouTube on a consistent basis, including episodes from some of the biggest British soaps like EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale. Update: Current episodes of Coronation Street are now available on HULU.

rovers return inn from coronation street

I hesitated about telling you this for a few months until I could assess whether the uploading was reliable and consistent. No sense in getting you excited enough to start watching, only to have the rug pulled out from under your feet. Of course, the more views an upload gets the more likely the uploader will feel it’s worth their time, so it’s a win-win really.

The great thing about watching on YouTube and not a streaming service is you don’t have to worry about being in front of the computer at the time it airs, which for those of us living in the States usually means while we are at work!

How To Find A Show

The one thing that does not stay consistent about watching via YouTube is who is doing the uploading. I’ve tried to subscribe to a channel only to find that they have not been consistent about uploading.

The most successful way I’ve found to find a current episode is to search like this “EastEnders 30 November 2012.” Remove the quotes of course and use the actual date of the episode you’re looking for, however, the most important thing is to write the date the European way which is day, month and year.

You’ll also need to know the airing schedule of the show you’re looking for.

Happy Viewing!

Melissa is the Britophile-in-Chief of Smitten by Britain, the world’s first blog for Britophiles. When she’s not blogging here you will most likely find her on Facebook or Twitter whilst enjoying a cup of tea.


  1. Lisa says

    I’m a proud American anglophile and would be happy to pay a feed for British TV. Love BBC America but so sick of seeing Star Trek. i want to see British TV. shows. LOVE British comedy shows just name few of them The Inbetweeners,Outnumbered, Friday Night Dinner, Come Fly with Me. and so many more. if anyone knows of a good service PLEASE let me know. thank you Lisa

  2. Doris says

    I too would pay a fee for British TV! I am a devoted American Anglophile and have been since I was 12. Not sure where it started but I do remember being quite enamored with seeing David Bowie sing with Bing Crosby at Christmas time when I was about 8 then around 10 I watched the Royal Wedding and saw the most beautiful princess ever….Diana. At 12 i heard Adam And the Ants for the first time and so it began… love for English Bands, and the country they came from. Forward a few years….a family trip to England…..then the discovery of Jane Austen! Yes, I love Eastenders, Graham Norton…..and Downton Abbey among my faves……sure would love to watch them when England is! Until then…..I keep Calm until airing in US and Youtubing! Cheers from America!

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