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The BBC‘s iPlayer streaming service has broken 4 billion requests to stream programmes for the first time ever, ending the year with an all-time record high of 4.4 billion requests.

December was BBC iPlayer’s best month of all time, achieving a record-high 447 million requests in total. The top episode of the month was the returning Christmas special of Gavin and Stacey, which recorded an enormous 4.3 million requests in the final six days of the year – and to date has achieved a massive 5.2 million requests.

The second most popular episode of the month was EastEnders’ Christmas day episode, with 2.1 million requests – the show’s most popular episode to date. Fantasy drama His Dark Materials was another strong performer, with three episodes in the top ten, as was Call The Midwife, The Apprentice and new Stephen Knight drama A Christmas Carol.

The 2019 performance is up around 12 per cent on the previous year.

Across 2019 as a whole, the return of Eve and Villanelle’s thrilling game of cat and mouse in the second series of Killing Eve was the biggest show, recording almost 41 million requests, over 10 million requests ahead of any other programme. Killing Eve’s first series also made the top ten, with just under 23 million requests in 2019.

Other returning dramas to crack the top ten include the fifth series of Peaky Blinders and the fifth series of Line Of Duty, both with over 27 million requests, along with the 22nd series of forensic drama Silent Witness, which saw 18 million requests. The Capture was the year’s most successful new show on iPlayer, with 20 million requests for the first series.

The hilarious and heartfelt final series of Fleabag was the year’s most popular comedy, recording 21 million requests for series two. Fan favourite shows Strictly Come Dancing, The Apprentice and MasterChef rounded out the rest of the top ten, continuing to prove popular with iPlayer viewers.

The first episode of Peaky Blinders’ fifth series, which saw Tommy Shelby enter parliament for the first time, was the best single episode of the year, with just under 6 million requests. It narrowly edged out Line of Duty’s return with just under 5.9 million requests, which saw Stephen Graham join the cast as the guest series lead. The majority of the rest of the top ten is made up of Killing Eve, taking seven of the top ten episodes of the year in all.

The New Year also got off with a bang, as iPlayer recorded its best day ever on New Year’s Day, with 19 million requests. And the first week of the year immediately broke the record set by Christmas week to become BBC iPlayer’s biggest week, with 119 million requests, driven by popular new shows like Dracula and The Trail of Christine Keeler, as well as returning series like Doctor Who and Silent Witness.

Dan McGolpin, controller of BBC iPlayer, says: “2019 was the best year ever for BBC iPlayer with audiences enjoying a fantastic range of programmes from hotly-anticipated returners such as Killing Eve and Gavin & Stacey to brand new series such as The Capture and His Dark Materials. More and more viewers are finding that BBC iPlayer offers them a total TV experience, bringing the nation together for big live events such as the Strictly final and providing everyone with brilliant boxsets like Fleabag that they can binge on whenever they want to.”

Top BBC iPlayer Programmes of 2019



Gavin & StaceyChristmas Special 2019






The Apprentices15: Perfume



His Dark MaterialsThe Lost Boy



The Apprentices15: Interviews



Election 2019Part one



Call The MidwifeChristmas Special 2019



His Dark MaterialsThe Daemon Cages



His Dark MaterialsThe Fight to the Death



A Christmas Carole1