Apple has launched its video downloading service in the UK, allowing viewers to buy TV programmes from its iTunes store.

The company is initially making 28 series available via the site, which will compete with the catch-up TV services of UK broadcasters.

Shows such as Lost, Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty are on offer, but the company has already been criticised for a lack of content compared to its US service.

The move is the result of deals between Apple and studios such as ABC, MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount Comedy.

Downloaders will be charged £1.89 per episode, and can view them via a PC, Mac, iPod video, Apple TV or iPhone, once it is launched.