Doctor Who episodes to rent through Facebook

You will see the Doctor now

Today BBC Worldwide is making episodes of popular sci-fi show Doctor Who available across the world, through a Facebook TV streaming service.

The commercial arm of the BBC will be offering nine Doctor Who stories on the social media site, which fans can rent using 15 Facebook credits (just under £1). The video will then stream through the Doctor Who fan page, and will be available to the user for 48 hours.

BBC Worldwide Chief Executive John Smith said: "Our approach to Facebook and other leading edge platforms is to be right there alongside them in fostering innovation. We see this service as a perfect way to give our fans what they want, as well as a great way for them to get their fix between now and the autumn when series six continues."

Mass appeal

The Facebook episodes will be available to those in the UK, Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Viewers outside the UK could not previously access the BBC's free iPlayer streaming service due to rights agreements, although a subscription-based international version is set to launch later this year.

However, the service will also appeal to fans in the UK. The nine stories include modern Doctor Who classics, digitally remastered episodes from 1967, and even one episode - 'The Greatest Show in the Galaxy' from 1988 - that was never released on DVD.

The BBC claims to be the first broadcaster to use Facebook video streaming in this way, and looks set to expand its offering. The Financial Times reports that Top Gear, which boasts 12 million Facebook fans compared to Doctor Who's 1.4 million, will soon be available through the social media site too.