iPlayer celebrates record festive season

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Viewers flocked to the BBC in record numbers between Christmas and New Year, with BBC iPlayer setting a new festive record of 141 million programmes streamed during New Year week (December 27th – January 3rd), up 6 per cent on the same week the year previously. The New Year has also started with a bang, with programmes streamed 143 million times on iPlayer last week.

BBC iPlayer recorded its best festive day ever, with 22 million streams on January 2nd, boosted by the arrival of the box set of The Tourist. The series is currently the third most successful drama launch of all time on iPlayer – having been streamed over 18 million times to date

In addition, BBC All-Screens+7 data (which reports on all viewing across linear BBC TV and BBC iPlayer during the first seven days of availability) shows during the period December 20th – January 4th:

  • Happy New Year Live! with an average audience of over 10.5 millionthe first episode of The Tourist (8.9m) and The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast (8.3m) were the most watched programmes on BBC TV and BBC iPlayer combined
  • Christmas specials of Death in Paradise (8m), Call the Midwife (7.9m) and Strictly Come Dancing (7.4m) also performed well – along with new dramas A Very British Scandal (7.1m) and Around the World in 80 days (6m) which were watched live and on-demand by millions within their first seven days of availability

Figures for the festive period also show:

  • Viewers were gripped by new dramas on iPlayer, with the first instalment of A Very British Scandal topping the list of most streamed episodes across the festive period (December 21st – January 3rd) with 2.3 million streams. The first episode of outback drama The Tourist (1.6m) and finale of psychological thriller The Girl Before (1.6m) also proved hugely popular, along with Christmas Day staples including the Call the Midwife Christmas special (1.6m) and EastEnders (1.5m)
  • Drama in the Square was a hit throughout Christmas and New Year, with EastEnders streamed 15.9 million times between December 21st – January 3rd, making it the most streamed brand.

“2022 on the BBC has started with a bang with record viewing across Christmas and New Year on BBC iPlayer,” declared Charlotte Moore, BBC’s Chief Content Officer. “Millions of people chose to watch our unrivalled range of box-sets and Christmas specials live on our channels, or binge on-demand across the festive season – paving the way for the BBC’s centenary, a landmark year that will look forward and celebrate British creativity across the whole of the UK.”

The top 20 episodes across linear BBC TV and BBC iPlayer during the first seven days following transmission between December 20th and January 4th are:

Rank Episode Average Audience
1 HAPPY NEW YEAR LIVE! – 2022 10.5m
2 THE TOURIST – SERIES 1 – EPISODE 1 8.9m
3 THE QUEEN’S CHRISTMAS BROADCAST – 2021 8.3m
4 DEATH IN PARADISE – CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 8m
5 CALL THE MIDWIFE – CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 2021 7.9m
6 STRICTLY COME DANCING CHRISTMAS SPECIAL – SERIES 19 – CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 7.4m
7 A VERY BRITISH SCANDAL – SERIES 1 – EPISODE 1 7.1m
8 AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (2021) – SERIES 1 – EPISODE 1 6m
9 SIX O’CLOCK NEWS – 20/12/2021 5.7m
10 MICHAEL MCINTYRE’S CHRISTMAS WHEEL – SERIES 2 – CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 5.5m
11 SUPERWORM – SUPERWORM 5.1m
12 BLANKETY BLANK – SERIES 1 – CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 5m
13 FOUR LIVES 5m
14 THE REPAIR SHOP AT CHRISTMAS – AT CHRISTMAS 2021 4.9m
15 BBC NEWS – 29/12/2021 4.9m
16 EASTENDERS – 25/12/2021 4.7m
17 THE WEAKEST LINK – SERIES 1 – EPISODE 4 4.5m
18 SHAUN THE SHEEP: THE FLIGHT BEFORE CHRIS – SHAUN THE SHEEP: THE FLIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS 4.5m
19 GHOSTS – HE CAME! 4.5m
20 DOCTOR WHO – EVE OF THE DALEKS 4.4m

BBC iPlayer’s top episodes per programme from Tuesday December 21st to Monday January 3rd are:

Rank Programme Episode Streams
1 A Very British Scandal Series 1 – episode 1 2.3m
2 The Tourist Series 1 – episode 1 1.6m
3 The Girl Before Series 1 – episode 4 1.6m
4 Call the Midwife Christmas Special 2021 1.6m
5 EastEnders 25/12/2021 1.5m
6 Around the World in 80 Days Series 1 – episode 1 1.4m
7 Top Gear Driving Home for Christmas 1.1m
8 The Big New Years & Years Eve Party with Kylie and Pet Shop Boys 1.1m
9 Death in Paradise Christmas Special 2021 1m
10 Match of the Day 26/12/2021 1m

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