Dracula, A Christmas Carol and Gavin & Stacey give BBC iPlayer record Christmas fortnight
Ivan Radford | On 08, Jan 2020
A bumper crop of Christmas specials and new programmes helped BBC iPlayer to its best festive fortnight ever. The holiday period (20th December – 2nd January) was BBC iPlayer’s biggest on record, with 203m 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 season of Doctor Who.
Over the whole holiday period, the long-awaited return to Barry and Billericay in the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special was the top episode, with 4.6 million requests. The three original seasons of the sitcom have also been performing well over Christmas, as iPlayer viewers revisited their favourite moments from the show, with 6.8m requests 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 new drama A Christmas Carol, with 1.6 million requests.
Christmas week also saw a record 10.7 million 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, says: “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 episode’s 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.”