Like Sir Francis Drake in 1577, the Beeb has global plans for its flagship vessel and the British will attempt to conquer the world once more....well, at least get it watching a bit of UK telly.

That's right, the BBC iPlayer is going global with plans afoot for a paid-for international service that will be based on the iPad.

The Global iPlayer is expected to hit the US first, and will be in pilot form until it gets given the green light by the BBC Trust.

The platform would fall under BBC Worldwide's umbrella, which is the commercial section of the Beeb. Luke-Bradley Jones, who is the MD for (the international, advert-based version of the website) said that the idea was to tap into the early adopters market.

"We’re quite bullish about what we can charge, but we are still working out the details", he said.

Jones also explained the decision behind the iPad platform for the service. He said that Apple's tablet "provides such potential to develop a truly interactive video-on-demand ser­vice, and also maps pretty nicely on to our core target audience for the ­service".

The Global iPlayer would be in stiff competition with the likes of Hulu and Netflix in the States for VOD iPad fans, but it is hoped that the BBC's reputation for high quality programming could be enough to persuade Johnny Foreigner and his buddies to part with their hard earned-cash.

It is expected that the BBC Global iPlayer will launch on iPad's worldwide, starting with the US, in mid-2011.