The BBC has launched a global version of its iPlayer app for Apple's iPad.

The app, which is free to download from the App Store but comes with a monthly subscription of €6.99 (£6.15) per month or an annual cost of €49.99 (£44), allows users to watch BBC shows such as Doctor Who, Top Gear and Eastenders as well as classic programmes including Fawlty Towers and Only Fools and Horses, rather than just catch-up on the shows broadcast over the last seven days. Users will be able to search for shows based on their title as well as browsing eight different categories of programmes such as News Specials & Documentaries, Entertainment, Drama and Comedy.

Initially the app will be available in 11 countries in Western Europe including France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The BBC said it plans to make the app available to those in the US, Canada and Australia later this year. The organisation revealed it will trial the app for a year before deciding whether to continue with the scheme.

Unlike the UK-based version of the app, which was released in February this year, the global version will offer users the chance to stream content over a 3G connection as well as Wi-Fi and even the ability to download content and watch it back when there's no net connection.

"Based on the soaring success of the UK's pioneering BBC iPlayer service, the app combines technical innovation with editorial creativity to transport users to the heart of the BBC and British television and on a journey of discovery, wherever and whenever they want," said Jana Bennett, BBC Worldwide President of Worldwide Networks and Global iPlayer.

"We have an exciting vision for what this service could become and will develop it based on feedback from within the markets."

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the broadcaster, is behind the app and said the money generated from the global iPlayer will be used to supplement the licence fee.

The broadcaster also revealed that in the future the app will be given features that allow users to recommend programmes and like the content being watched by their friends on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.