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Millions of people across the world have learnt English themselves not from William Shakespeare or other English literary classic, but by listening to the BBC World Service.  If you’ve ever spoken to someone who has learnt directly like this you’ll often be amazed at the wonderful accent that is developed.  It’s certainly much more pleasing on the ear than those who have used the clipped tones of some Hollywood action hero.

In fact nowadays the BBC website has a huge treasure trove of resources for anyone wanting to learn English or more about English literature.   There’s lots of learning resources, educational sections and even bite size lessons for people trying to learn English for themselves.  All of this is free and accessible any time day or night.   It really is a wonderful free resource that anyone can use.  For instance there is a section which takes news stories from the main site and then breaks down the vocabulary used by the story.  Here’s an example of a story about the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin – http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/wordsinthenews/2011/12/111205_witn_putin.shtml.  It’s great practice for brushing up on your vocabulary and seeing words used in a modern and real context.

Of course it can get a bit boring just learning language purely from lessons like this.  So here it’s an idea to get access to the content contained in the BBCs media player.  In fact using using BBC Iplayer abroad 2011 can be a little problematic.   For some reason the BBC have restricted the content to anyone accessing the site from outside the United Kingdom.  I for one think this a tremendous shame that the wonderful content that is contained on the BBC Web site is restricted like this.  I presume it’s to do with licensing arrangements but you would have thought that a public broadcaster like the BBC could look beyond such commercial requirements.  But all is not lost thanks to sites like this – http://www.uktv-online.com/online-british-tv-abroad/

The above video shows that if you want to connect to the BBC IPlayer from outside  the UK then all you need to do is hide your IP address.  This is the number that is assigned to your computer when you connect to the internet.  It normally is the one assigned by your ISP which will of course be registered to the country you are connecting from.  However if you can find a proxy or VPN server to use that is based in the United Kingdom you can use this to connect from.  Then the BBC will think you are actually in the UK and you should be able to watch anything you like.  It’s actually very easy to do and doesn’t take any technical skill, in fact once you’ve started watching the show you can disconnect from the proxy server.