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How to Watch Great Expectations for Free

Where & How to Watch Great Expectations in 2024: Stream for Free From Anywhere

There’s yet another adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic novel Great Expectations coming to our screens. If you’ve watched the trailer and added the drama to your watchlist, this guide shares where and how to watch Great Expectations from anywhere.

Sandra PattisonJackie Leavitt

Written by Sandra Pattison (Editor)

Reviewed by Jackie Leavitt (Chief Editor)

Last Updated: 2024-01-24T03:38:15+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

There are lots of different versions of the Charles Dickens classic Great Expectations, but this article will focus on the 2023 drama series developed by Peaky Blinders creator, Steven Knight. If you want to know how to watch Great Expectations online, this guide has you covered.

Key Takeaways: Stream Great Expectations

  • Great Expectations (2023) is available on Hulu in the U.S. and BBC iPlayer in the U.K.
  • If you’re not in either of those countries, you can use a VPN to access them.
  • ExpressVPN is the best choice, but NordVPN is a close second. Both come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Not available in your country?

Watch Great Expectations now on Disney+ and other streaming platforms.

Status checked 2024/04/09:

It’s not the first Dickens adaptation for Steven Knight, with his first being A Christmas Carol in 2019. Knight’s version will give a unique and contemporary look at the 1861 Charles Dickens classic novel and will be split into six parts. 

The Great Expectations 2023 series will premiere on Hulu in the U.S. and BBC One in the U.K. We’ll look into each streaming option and how you can use a VPN like ExpressVPN to access Great Expectations from anywhere in this article.

How to Watch Great Expectations Series

Before we get into where you can stream Great Expectations, we’ll explain the reason why content libraries and the availability of shows varies across the globe. It’s all down to regional restrictions — or geoblocks

These restrictions are in place to control what countries have access to certain content and services. Without them, streaming platforms would be in breach of their copyright and licensing agreements. It’s why you’ll find a show on, say, Netflix U.S., but it might not be available in the Australian Netflix library. 

There’s an easy way around the restrictions, though, and that’s by using a tool called a virtual private network (VPN). With that, you can connect to a server in the country where the content is available and access it. We’ll show you how further down.

Which Streaming Services Have Great Expectations?

The Great Expectations series is produced by FX Productions in association with the BBC. The series will air exclusively on Hulu in the U.S. and on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the U.K. It premieres on Sunday, March 26 and the first two episodes will be available. The remaining episodes will air weekly from then.

great expectations hulu
Great Expectations premieres on Hulu in the U.S. on March 26, 2023.

We’ve already talked about geoblocks, and they might get in the way of you watching Great Expectations depending on where you’re located. That’s because Hulu is only available in the United States and the BBC is only available to those in the United Kingdom. 

If you’re not in either of those countries, you can use a VPN to access Hulu or BBC iPlayer. We’ve provided steps for this further down, but you can also check out our best VPN for Hulu and best VPN for BBC iPlayer guides.

You can also watch Great Expectations on streaming platforms in other countries, such as Foxtel in Australia, Star+ in Latin America and Disney+ in selected countries, but the release dates are still unknown. 

How to Watch Great Expectations for Free

There are a couple of ways you can watch Great Expectations for free, but again, it’ll depend on where you’re located. 

First off, Hulu offers a free trial to new customers, but you need a U.S. payment method to sign up for it. If you have one, but you’re not currently in the U.S., you can connect to a U.S. server and sign up as usual. 

The second option is to connect to a server in the U.K. and access BBC iPlayer. BBC iPlayer is completely free to watch. Technically, you’re supposed to have a TV license to watch it — something that all U.K. residents need to watch and record live TV — but the website uses an honor system. It might ask you if you have a TV license, and you simply click “yes.” 

On top of these free streaming options, you can use a VPN’s money-back guarantee to use the service for free. 

How to Watch Great Expectations With a VPN

Since watching Great Expectations on Hulu for free requires you to be a new customer with a U.S. payment method, this section will show you how to watch Great Expectations for free on BBC iPlayer. We’ve used our favorite VPN, ExpressVPN, as an example.

  1. Sign Up for a VPN

    Go to ExpressVPN’s website and sign up for one of its plans. Each plan is covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

    expressvpn homepage
  2. Install the VPN App

    Download and install the VPN app onto your chosen device. Then, launch the app and log in to your account.

    expressvpn device apps
  3. Connect to a U.K. Server

    Find and connect to a server in the U.K. You can find the complete server list by clicking on the three dots or you can use the search bar. Click on the server to connect and if it doesn’t automatically, click the big “on” button.

    ExpressVPN app uk
  4. Go to BBC iPlayer

    Go to the BBC iPlayer website and click “sign in.” From there you can either sign in if you already have an account or register if you don’t.

    bbc iplayer sign in
  5. Sign Up for BBC iPlayer

    Click “register now,” confirm that you’re over 13 years of age and enter your date of birth.

    bbc iplayer register
  6. Enter Your Details

    Enter your information including a valid email address and a U.K. postcode (do a Google search for a U.K. postcode). Then click “register.” Go to your email account and click on the verification email.

    bbc iplayer enter info
  7. Find & Stream Great Expectations

    You’ll be taken back to the main page. Use the search bar to search for Great Expectations. Click on the relevant show and then click the play button to stream it. If you’re asked if you have a TV license, click “I have a TV license. Watch now.”

    bbc iplayer great expectations

If you want to have a completely free experience, make sure to cancel the VPN subscription within 30 days for a full refund.

The Best VPNs for Watching Great Expectations

There are many VPNs on the market, but not all are capable of unblocking streaming services and providing adequate speeds for streaming. We’ve chosen two of the best from our list of top VPNs. Let’s get into them, starting with the best pick, ExpressVPN.

1. ExpressVPN

expressvpn app uk
ExpressVPN has plenty of U.S. and U.K. servers and can easily unblock streaming services.


  • Fast speeds
  • Unlocks all streaming services
  • Large server network


  • Expensive

ExpressVPN is our go-to service for pretty much anything. It’s especially good in the streaming realm due to its ability to unblock any platform and fast speeds for top-quality streams. It has an extensive server network with plenty to choose from in the U.S. and U.K., and its strong security will ensure you stay safe while streaming.

When it comes to price, ExpressVPN is expensive. Its monthly plan is similar to competitor prices, but while other services offer a large discount with longer plans, ExpressVPN’s annual plan is still on the high end. Still, you can use the 30-day money-back guarantee to see why we rate it so highly and our ExpressVPN review goes into more detail.

2. NordVPN

nordvpn open uk
NordVPN has the fastest speeds available and thousands of servers around the world.


  • Fastest speeds
  • Affordable
  • Access streaming apps easily


  • Mobile version feels clunky

We can also recommend NordVPN for streaming since it has the fastest VPN speeds and can easily unblock streaming services. Like ExpressVPN, it has plenty of U.K. and U.S. servers available and you’ll also be covered by top-notch security features. It has a nice interactive map for choosing servers, but while the desktop version is easy to use, it doesn’t work as well on mobile devices. 

NordVPN might suit you better if your budget is low, but you’ll need to sign up for two years to see the benefit. You can read our NordVPN review for more information, but there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you change your mind.

  • *The prices are charged in the first billing cycle only. Renewal prices vary.
  • Unlimited GB
  • 6
  • Yes
  • *The prices are charged in the first billing cycle only. Renewal prices vary.
  • Unlimited GB
  • 6
  • Yes
  • *The prices are charged in the first billing cycle only. Renewal prices vary.
  • Unlimited GB
  • 6
  • Yes

Cast, Characters & Plot: Great Expectations

The 2023 series version of Great Expectations follows the sensual tale of Pip (Fionn Whitehead), an orphan who grew up to be a blacksmith’s apprentice but always dreamed of living as a wealthy gentleman. 

Pip yearns for that life even more after he is introduced to the eccentric Miss Havisham (Olivia Colman) and falls in love with her adopted daughter, Estella (Shalom Brune-Franklin). 

A while later, Pip unexpectedly becomes the beneficiary of a large amount of money from a mysterious benefactor and is required to move to London to begin his education as a gentleman. Knowing this will undeniably change his life forever, Pip tries to fit into upper-class society. As he does, he deserts his friends and loved ones, but still longs for Estella. 

The story is based on a young man’s unforgettable passage toward manhood and the magic of life’s great coincidences. It’s full of surprising interactions, romance and unique, vivid characters. Here’s the main cast list for the 2023 adaptation.

  • Fionn Whitehead — Pip
  • Tom Sweet — Young Pip
  • Olivia Coleman — Miss Havisham
  • Shalom Brune-Franklin — Estella
  • Matt Berry — Mr. Pumblechook
  • Johnny Harris — Abel Magwitch
  • Bashy — Jaggers
  • Trystan Gravelle — Compeyson
  • Hayley Squires — Sara Gargery
  • Owen McDonnell — Joe Gargery
  • Rudi Dharmalingam — Wemmick
  • Bronte Carmichael — Young Biddy

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to stream the new version of Great Expectations, we hope this guide has helped you. Remember, while Hulu is only available in the U.S. and BBC iPlayer is only available in the U.K., you can use a VPN to access the services if you’re not in either country. We recommend ExpressVPN for the job, but NordVPN is a top contender too.

Once you’re done watching Great Expectations, head over to our guide to learn other movies on your watch list. We have guides that can help you find access to crime dramas such as Luther or Peaky Blinders. If you love movies featuring Sylvester Stallone, we have a guide on where to watch Rocky.

Which streaming service will you use to watch Great Expectations? Will you need to use a VPN? If so, which one will you choose? What’s your favorite version of the Charles Dickens classic novel? Let us know in the comment section and, as always, thanks for reading.


  • Great Expectations is available on Hulu in the U.S. and both BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the U.K. It will become available on other streaming services later in the year.

  • We didn’t find the 1998 version of Great Expectations on Netflix, but it is available on Hulu in the U.S. and Disney Plus in Australia and Canada.

  • While others may have a different opinion, the 1940s adaptation of Great Expectations, directed by David Lean, is a popular favorite. This is mostly due to it staying almost true to the original Charles Dickens classic novel.

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