BBC iPlayer breaks records over the holiday period

David Murphy

The holiday period between 20 December and 2 January was the biggest on record for BBC iPlayer, with 203m requests to stream or download programmes, up by more than a third on the same period last year.

New Year’s Day was BBC iPlayer’s best-ever day, with 17.9m requests, also up by well over a third on the previous year, as viewers sank their teeth into new series Dracula and stepped back into the Tardis with the new series of Doctor Who.

Over the whole holiday period, the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special was the top episode, with 4.6m requests. The three original series also fared well over Christmas, as iPlayer viewers revisited their favourite moments from the show, with 6.8m requests for episodes from the original series.

Dramatic events in Albert Square helped EastEnders dominate the iPlayer top 20 over the holidays, making up nine of the top 20 episodes on iPlayer. There were 15.6m requests for EastEnders over the fortnight, with the Christmas Day episode topping the pile with 2.2m requests.

Other strong performers include the Call the Midwife Christmas special with 1.8m requests, and the new drama, A Christmas Carol with 1.6m requests.

Christmas week also saw a record 10.7m BBC account holders sign in to watch programmes on iPlayer, with a record 3.6m of them aged under 35.

Dan McGolpin, controller of iPlayer and programming at the BBC, said: “It was a cracking Christmas for BBC iPlayer, with more people than ever enjoying a huge range of great shows. The Gavin and Stacey Christmas special was the icing on the cake, generating a ground-breaking number of requests, plus fan favourites like EastEnders and Call the Midwife and new series His Dark Materials and A Christmas Carol were also top performers.

“2019 was iPlayer’s best ever year and 2020 got off to the perfect start with the New Year’s Day Doctor Who and Dracula both helping to deliver the highest number of requests in a single day. Millions of people are enjoying iPlayer’s expanded box-set offer and new series being made available for longer.”