The BBC’s online services, including its website and iPlayer, were down last night due to an unexplained technical issue.

The problem appears to be similar to an outage that occurred in March 2011, which was also blamed on a network incident.

The BBC said that its engineers were still looking into the cause of the problem.

The BBC said in a statement: "Due to a major technical issue, BBC Online was temporarily down on Wednesday evening.

"Service was restored to most users within an hour. We are working on full restoration as quickly as possible, and are investigating the cause of the outage."

Yesterday’s problems caused the BBC website to become unavailable just after 20:00 BST. The iPlayer service was also knocked offline.

Other problems included old stories appearing in the section of the website that shows the most popular stories of the day.

Some parts of the website, such as the BBC technology news page, went back online by 21:00 BST, but users found it difficult to access the BBC front page for a further hour.