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BBC iPlayer sets new records for festive season

Drama box sets and Christmas specials were the driving force behind the milestone.

Jamie Dornan in The Tourist
Published: Friday, 14th January 2022 at 12:01 am

BBC iPlayer has shattered festive viewing records, with audiences flocking to the service to consume a strong line-up of content including Jamie Dornan drama The Tourist.

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New figures released today show that a staggering 141 million programmes were streamed during the week of New Year (27th December to 3rd January), which is a six per cent increase on the same timeframe last year.

Meanwhile, Sunday 2nd January 2022 became iPlayer's best festive day ever, reaching a whopping 22 million streams – thanks in part to the launch of high-profile box set The Tourist.

Fifty Shades of Grey actor Jamie Dornan stars in the hit series, following a man with no memory who wakes up in the Australian outback, which has quickly become iPlayer's third most successful drama launch of all-time with 18 million views thus far.

Charlotte Moore, BBC’s Chief Content Officer, said: "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 BBC has also released a full breakdown of its All-Screens+7 data for the festive period, which counts all viewing across terrestrial television and iPlayer in the first seven days of availability.

Between Monday 20th December and Tuesday 4th January, the most watched programmes by this metric were Happy New Year Live! (10.5m), The Tourist episode 1 (8.9m) and The Queen's Christmas Broadcast (8.3m).

Death in Paradise series 11

Death in Paradise (BBC)

Christmas specials were the next big winners, with Death in Paradise (8m), Call the Midwife (7.9m) and Strictly Come Dancing (7.4m) proving most popular.

Rounding out the top 10 were new drama launches A Very British Scandal episode 1 (7.1m) and Around the World in 80 Days episode 1 (6m), as well as 20th December's Six O'Clock News (5.7m) and comedy favourite Michael McIntyre's Christmas Wheel (5.5m).

Other notable titles in the top 20 include star-studded children's animated special Superworm (5.1m), hard-hitting factual drama Four Lives (5m), the Ghosts Christmas special (4.5m) and Doctor Who's Eve of the Daleks (4.4m).

BBC iPlayer's annual festive season analysis uses a 14-day period each year, which ends on the last bank holiday in January.

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Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight. 

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