iPlayer is to launch in America as part of BBC Worldwide's expansion to increase its returns to £1.2 billion over the next five years / Rex

People looking to visit the site to look for TV or films were instead greeted by error messages or endless loading times

The BBC's iPlayer is broken, meaning that nobody can access one of the most popular video services in the world.

The service was hit by an outage that appeared to affect every digital or online BBC service. Its radio and TV broadcasts were unaffected.

The corporation's press office said that it was "aware of a technical issue affecting the BBC website and are working to fix this now," in a tweet. "We'll update you as soon as we can," it said.

Another tweet from the BBC's breaking news team said that it was "working as quickly as possible to resolve" the problems.

The Down Detector website showed that reports of problems began soon after 6am UK time, and carried on for much of the morning.

Many websites count iPlayer as part of the corporation's main website. But that site is the 89th biggest in the world, and the seventh-ranked site in the United Kingdom.