Gavin & Stacey, Eastenders hand iPlayer its best ever Christmas

iplayer_christmas

A bumper crop of Christmas specials and new programmes helped BBC iPlayer to its best festive fortnight ever.

The holiday period (20 December – 2 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, the BBC said.

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.

Gavin & Stacey

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 6.8m for the classic series.

Eastenders

Dramatic events in Albert Square as Keanu was kidnapped and apparently murdered by Martin Fowler 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 included 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 were:

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

Record sign-ins

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.

“It was a cracking Christmas for BBC iPlayer with more people than ever enjoying a huge range of great shows”, Dan McGolpin, controller of iPlayer and Programming at the BBC, said.

“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.”