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BBC iPlayer sets new festive record

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BBC iPlayer recorded its best festive day* ever, with 22m streams on Sunday 2 January, boosted by the arrival of the box set of The Tourist, the new must-watch series starring Jamie Dornan. The series is currently the third most successful drama launch of all time on iPlayer – having been streamed over 18m 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 7 days of availability) shows during the period 20 December – 4 January:

Happy New Year Live! with an average audience of over 10.5m – the 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 released today 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 (21 December – 3 January) with 2.3m 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 15.9m times between 21 December – 3 January, making it the most streamed brand.

Charlotte Moore, BBC’s Chief Content Officer says: “2022 on the BBC has started with a bang with record viewing across Christmas and New Year on BBC iPlayer. 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 7 of availability between 20 December and 4 January are:

  1. Happy New Year Live! 10.5m
  2. The Tourist – 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 – Episode 1 7.1m
  8. Around The World In 80 Days (2021) – 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 5.1m
  12. Blankety Blank – Series 1 – Christmas Special 5m
  13. Four Lives 5m
  14. The Repair Shop At Christmas 2021 4.9m
  15. BBC News – 29/12/2021 4.9m
  16. EastEnders – 25/12/2021 4.7m
  17. The Weakest Link – Episode 4 4.5m
  18. 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 21December to Monday 3 January are:

  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

.* BBC iPlayer annual ‘festive season’ analysis uses a 14-day period each year, selected to end on the last bank holiday in January – this year reporting on Tuesday 21 December to Monday 3 January.

**BBC All-Screens+7 data combines and deduplicates BARB data and internal BBC iPlayer webstats to report on all viewing across linear BBC TV and BBC iPlayer during the first seven days following transmission of an episode plus pre-TX viewing. The metric is ‘average audience per minute’ in line with standard BARB data.