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:
|1||Gavin & Stacey||Christmas Special||4,553,000|
|3||Call the Midwife||Christmas Special 2019||1,785,000|
|4||A Christmas Carol||Episode 1||1,608,000|
|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|
|19||A Christmas Carol||Episode 3||900,000|
And the top 20 programme titles on BBC iPlayer over the festive fortnight are:
|2||Gavin & Stacey||11,366,000|
|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|
|13||The Trial of Christine Keeler||1,808,000|
|19||Michael McIntyre’s Big Show||1,542,000|
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.”