Top Gear’s controversial Christmas special in Patagonia has topped the BBC iPlayer Christmas chart with 2.08 million requests to view. This is almost half of the 4.7 million people that tuned in during its original broadcast on the 27th of December.
Jeremy Clarkson and co’s trip to Argentina made headline news when the crew were forced to flee the country after mobs attacked, believing a Porsche with the numberplate H982 FKL was a reference to the Falklands War of 1982. The presenters and show producers have repeatedly denied this was a deliberate “stunt”, saying the plate was a pure coincidence.
The second half of the motoring special, which aired a day later, went on to earn 1.5 million requests meaning the show took the third spot in this year’s top ten, too.
Doctor Who, which has held the top spot for the last two years, slipped to ninth place this year with only 1 million requests during a nine-day period charted by the BBC over Christmas.
The original broadcast on Christmas Day, with Peter Capaldi at the helm, also saw a dip in audience figures from last year, with 8.3 million tuning in, compared to 2013’s 11.1 million.
EastEnders proved to be a winner for the on demand service too, with various episodes earning the soap four spots in the top ten.
It was certainly a popular period for the online tool, with iPlayer recording its highest ever one-week figure, reaching 54.5 million viewing requests during December.
“Christmas on the BBC is an incredibly special time of year, with our broadcast schedules bursting with amazing shows,” says Victoria Jaye, head of TV content for BBC iPlayer.
“It’s also the time of year when we see a significant surge in BBC iPlayer usage, as people all over the country unwrap new devices and take the opportunity to enjoy our terrific range of programmes, at a time that suits them.”
The top 10 iPlayer requests during Christmas 2014
1. Top Gear Patagonia Special (Part 1): 2, 078, 700
2. EastEnders (25/12): 1, 689, 400
3. Top Gear Patagonia Special (Part 2): 1, 533, 700
4. EastEnders (26/12): 1,432,900
5. The Apprentice Final/ You’re Hired: 1,309,200
6. Miranda: I Do, But To Who?: 1, 263,700
7. EastEnders: (23/12): 1, 147,100
8. EastEnders: (24/12): 1,107,900
9. Doctor Who: Last Christmas: 1,069,400
10. The Boy in the Dress: 1,058,300