More than 7,000 hours of downloadable TV content is available on the newly-launched BBC Store. It will sit alongside BBC iPlayer, which will continue to offer 30-day catch-up (and offline playback) for the latest shows.
The new BBC Store website will be a bigger archive of BBC programming, offering classic content from more than 60 years of BBC shows. There will also be previously unseen episodes, banned programmes, plus all the BBC's latest TV shows. All the programmes will be available to buy, download and keep forever.
The BBC says shows will typically cost £1.89 per episode or £6.99 per series. Programmes are available in SD and HD, with a premium for HD content. A six-episode series of Peter Kay's Car Share, for example, is available for £9.99 in SD and £12.99 in HD.
The BBC is aiming to generate up to £1.2bn from the website over the next five years, which it intends to use to fund future programmes.
The site is live now, full of new and old programmes from the BBC archive, with the latest shows set to be available to purchase and download just 24 hours after they're first broadcast.
Marcus Arthur, BBC Worldwide's managing director, commented: "It's a fabulous new service for the BBC that makes it easy to browse, buy and download some of your favourite BBC programmes ever... in much the same way as you previously owned them on DVD."
The focus of the archive is said to be on drama, comedy and factual entertainment, including some of Sir David Attenborough's most memorable documentaries. Children's classic Muffin the Mule is currently the oldest programme on the site, while there will also be an "of its time" section where you will find content "that might no longer be considered appropriate".
The BBC said the new download store won't affect BBC iPlayer or BBC content on services such as Netflix.