Best new movies and shows on BBC iPlayer in September 2022

Every month BBC iPlayer offers a plethora of new movies and TV shows to watch. Critic Lillian Crawford picks six of the best titles to check out in the coming weeks.

Top Picks: TV

BBC Proms (BBC Four, throughout September)

As the 2022 BBC Proms season draws to a close, there’s a bumper crop of programmes celebrating all things classical coming to iPlayer in September by way of BBC Four. The first week begins with the three-part documentary Being Beethoven made in 2020 to mark the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth, focusing on the man rather than his music. The documentary pairs excellently with a grand performance of Beethoven’s epic ninth symphony, the ‘Choral’, by the Chineke! Orchestra under the baton of German conductor Kevin John Edusei.

After that there’s a repeat of the semi-final programme of 2004 BBC Young Musician of the Year winner Nicola Benedetti, who returns to the Royal Albert Hall for a special performance of jazz musician Wynton Marsalis’s violin concerto, written especially for her. That Prom will be available on iPlayer for a month from September 9, along with performances of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story and Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes.

Red Rose (BBC Three, available now)

New to BBC Three is this modern horror saga about a group of teenagers being slowly twisted by a mysterious app called Red Rose. As secondary school draws to a close, a group of working-class friends in Bolton have no idea what to do with their lives, the summer after exams presenting an endless stream of possibilities. As the app’s power grows over one member of the group, what seems like an innocent game becomes much darker.

The new series features original music from Jessica Jones and Tim Morrish of the band Vanbur, who recently wrote the score for Netflix smash hit The Tinder Swindler. It’s a brooding and original premise with a cast of new faces offering exciting performances as the central group of friends. You can binge all the episodes on iPlayer from the start of September, but be careful how deep you allow yourself to go.

Arena: James Joyce’s Ulysses (BBC Two, available now)

The Arena series of documentaries continues to deliver original cultural content where much documentary funding has faded away. For this special, the focus is on one of the great titans of literature: Ulysses by James Joyce. It’s an essential read for anyone, having radically altered the form itself and inspired every major writer who has come since. Many of them reflect on the novel and its legacy here, including Salman Rushdie, Colm Tóibín, Anne Enright, Howard Jacobson, and Vivien Igoe.

This film, available on iPlayer after broadcast, looks at Joyce’s life and the story of Ulysses itself. The book is set over the course of a single day in Dublin in 1904 following Leopold Bloom as he wanders around the city observing its everyday life. The programme also promises to feature readings from the scandalous letters Joyce exchanged with Nora Barnacle which certainly aren’t to be missed!

Top Picks: Movies

La Belle Époque (BBC Two, available now)

French rom-coms hit differently to the Hollywood take on romantic fun that dominates Western culture. La Belle Époque is no exception to this, written and directed by Nicolas Bedos, focusing not on a newfound love but an old flame which seems to be dying. The premise is an exceptionally unique one: Antoine (Guillaume Canet) runs a business called ‘Time Travellers’ which offers real-life historical recreations for an enormous price. Fancy going on a bender with Ernest Hemingway or hanging out with Marie Antoinette? They’re the people to call.

Victor Drumond (Daniel Auteuil) wants to reignite the passion with his wife Marianne (Fanny Ardant) so asks Antoine to transport him back to the night they met in 1974, to remind him why they fell in love. Much hilarity ensues, with an inevitably happy ending, in this exceptionally sweet film. It will be available on iPlayer for the next 60 days so plenty of time to catch it.

Eighth Grade (BBC Three, available now)

The feature debut from comedian Bo Burnham terrifyingly captures the fears and anxieties of being a teenager in the modern world. Centering on an exceptionally naturalistic performance from Elsie Fisher as the 13-year-old Kayla, the film follows her as she records self-help videos on subjects like ‘Being Yourself’ and ‘How to Be Confident’ despite being nervous and socially awkward herself.

Along with Burnham’s excellent writing and direction, the film features a groundbreaking synth-filled score by Anna Meredith, including her masterpiece ‘Nautilus’, which heightens the tension and pushes the film forward. You can catch it on iPlayer for the next thirty days throughout September.

The Bling Ring (BBC Two, available now)

The filmography of Sofia Coppola has been consistently exceptional, and this fifth film from 2013 is one of her funniest. A biting satire of contemporary youth and celebrity culture, the film features a unique and type-breaking performance from Emma Watson amongst a group of young people who broke into houses of celebs like Paris Hilton and Orlando Bloom to steal their expensive clothes.

Based on a real group of youngsters documented in a scandalous Vanity Fair article from 2010, Coppola uses a variety of montage techniques to capture the frenzy and hedonism of an over-privileged class of American youngsters. The film will be available to watch on iPlayer for the next month.