Advanced Television

iPlayer sees best ever festive fortnight

January 8, 2020

A number of Christmas specials and new programmes helped BBC iPlayer to its best festive fortnight ever. The holiday period (December 20th – January 2nd) was BBC iPlayer’s biggest on record, with 203 million requests to stream or download programmes, up well over a third on the same period last year.

New Year’s Day was BBC iPlayer’s best-ever day with 17.9 million 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 long-awaited return to Barry and Billericay in the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special was the top episode, with 4.6 million requests. The three original series have also been performing well over Christmas, as iPlayer viewers revisited their favourite moments from the show, with 6.8 million for the classic series.

Dramatic events in Albert Square helped EastEnders dominate the iPlayer top 20 over the holidays – making up 9 of the top 20 episodes on iPlayer. There were 15.6 million requests for EastEnders over the fortnight, with the Christmas Day episode topping the pile with 2.2 million requests.

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

The top 20 BBC iPlayer programmes (by episode) over the festive fortnight are:

Rank Programme Episode Requests
1 Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special 4,553,000
2 EastEnders 25/12/2019 2,207,000
3 Call the Midwife Christmas Special 2019 1,785,000
4 A Christmas Carol Episode 1 1,608,000
5 EastEnders 26/12/2019 1,506,000
6 EastEnders 24/12/2019 1,404,000
7 EastEnders 31/12/2019 1,352,000
8 EastEnders 27/12/2019 1,346,000
9 EastEnders 01/01/2020 1,324,000
10 EastEnders 20/12/2019 1,252,000
11 EastEnders 23/12/2019 1,184,000
12 EastEnders 30/12/2019 1,159,000
13 His Dark Materials Betrayal 1,133,000
14 The Trial of Christine Keeler Episode 1 1,108,000
15 A Christmas Carol Episode 2 1,034,000
16 Mrs Brown’s Boys Special A Wonderful Mammy 960,000
17 Match of the Day – 2019/20 26/12/2019 959,000
18 Dracula Episode 1 925,000
19 A Christmas Carol Episode 3 900,000
20 Paddington 2   878,000

And the top 20 programme titles on BBC iPlayer over the festive fortnight are:

Rank Programme Requests
1 EastEnders 15,587,000
2 Gavin & Stacey 11,366,000
3 Hey Duggee 6,155,000
4 Bing 4,915,000
5 Waterloo Road 4,533,000
6 A Christmas Carol 3,542,000
7 Call the Midwife 3,366,000
8 Mrs Brown’s Boys 3,330,000
9 His Dark Materials 3,292,000
10 Match of the Day 2,648,000
11 Numberblocks 2,007,000
12 BBC News 1,877,000
13 The Trial of Christine Keeler 1,808,000
14 Doctor Who 1,727,000
15 MasterChef 1,685,000
16 Peter Rabbit 1,609,000
17 The Apprentice 1,589,000
18 Dracula 1,555,000
19 Michael McIntyre’s Big Show 1,542,000
20 Breakfast 1,496,000

Christmas week also saw a record 10.7 million BBC account holders sign in to watch programmes on iPlayer, with a record 3.6 million 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 & 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 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.”


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