BBC hits Sherlock and Taboo help iPlayer to record-breaking January

Hit dramas Sherlock and Taboo catapulted the BBC iPlayer to a record-breaking month for January as the online catch-up service prepares to roll out a number of new features.

The service received more than 304 million views in the first month of the year – an 8% rise on December 2016, which was its previous best ever month.

It marks an increase of more than 50 million requests from the same month in 2016.

(Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

More than eight million of the requests came from the three episodes of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock, with season opener The Six Thatchers receiving a total of 3.3 million views online.

The second episode, which benefited from one of the biggest boosts in ratings ever caused by people recording a TV show and watching it later, placed third on the top performing programmes list.

Tom Hardy’s Taboo made a successful start to online viewing, with the first episode receiving 2.8 million requests as the second-most popular show for catch-up viewing.

(Andrew Stuart/PA)

The list was dominated by other dramas such as Silent Witness and Apple Tree Yard while two episodes of EastEnders made the top 10, including the New Year’s Day programme.

The record-breaking statistics come as the BBC launches a number of new features including Pin and Pair, which offers the ability to resume watching an episode or series across other devices.

It means those watching EastEnders on the bus home can then pick up from where they left off when arriving on their sofa in front of the TV.


Users will need to ensure they have signed in on their connected TV and entered the code on their computers, tablets or smartphone.

Charlotte Moore, director of content, said: “It’s great to see such large audiences coming to iPlayer to watch the New Year’s most talked-about shows from Sherlock to Apple Tree Yard and Taboo – when they want and where they want.

“The new features and sign-in will only make that experience more rewarding and enjoyable.”


Dan Taylor-Watt, head of the BBC iPlayer, said: “Enabling sign-in on connected TVs and the rollout of new personalised features builds on the BBC’s strategy to make BBC iPlayer more personal across screens – letting you discover and enjoy programmes that are more relevant to you on the devices you use, whenever and wherever you use them.”

Further personalisation features, including recommended programmes, are expected to be introduced in the near future.

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