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Top Gear and telly in bed: BBC reveals iPlayer favourites

Did you tune in to Gavin and Stacey on your PC or Chris Moyles on your Wii?
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director on

Did you tune in to Gavin and Stacey on your PC or Chris Moyles on your Wii?

Top Gear was the programme most watched via the BBC's iPlayer in 2009, as the TV and radio on-demand service hit 88 million requests per month.

The two-year old service allows UK audiences to catch up with the BBC content broadcast over the last seven days. The BBC said iPlayer now has an average of more than five million unique users per week, and in November 2009 saw a total of 88.2 million programme requests - made up of 59.6 million requests for TV programmes and 28.6 million for radio.

Erik Huggers, director of future media and technology at the BBC, said the broadcaster will be looking to increase the availability of iPlayer on new platforms and devices in coming months.

The BBC said computer usage still dominates iPlayer use (86 per cent of requests) but the re-launch of BBC iPlayer on Nintendo Wii has seen a rise in requests via the device.

The BBC also revealed that viewers' programme preferences vary depending on which device they are using: Mac and PS3 iPlayer users prefer comedy shows such as Mock The Week, while PC and Virgin Media users seem to be more keen on drama, with EastEnders and Waking The Dead proving to be more popular.

The BBC said the number of people watching programmes via iPlayer on their mobile phones peaks post 9pm, and again on Saturday and Sunday mornings, "suggesting that the nation is snuggling up with their favourite BBC programmes from the warmth and comfort of their own bed".

BBC iPlayer homepage

The BBC's iPlayer on-demand service has seen rapid growth
(Screenshot: silicon.com)

iPlayer users are "strongly under-55" in terms of age, according to the BBC - younger than the typical TV viewer or radio listener's profile.

And while on-demand makes up the great majority of TV programme requests (in November only seven per cent of requests were for live simulcast streams), two-thirds of requests for radio streams are for live programmes, as opposed to catch-up listening.

The BBC said iPlayer is used for TV at roughly the same time of day as standard TV viewing, although there is proportionally more daytime and late-peak use. For radio, BBC iPlayer is used far more in daytime than traditional radio listening, which peaks at breakfast time.

The best-performing shows viewed via iPlayer from 1 January to 13 December 2009 were:

  1. Top Gear: series 13, episode one (1,671,100 streams)
  2. Top Gear: series 14, episode one (1,299,200 streams)
  3. Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, episode one (1,173,300)
  4. Gavin And Stacey: series three, episode one (972,700 streams)
  5. Question Time 22/10/09 (939,400 streams)


The best performing radio shows 1 January to 13 December 2009 were:

  1. Test Match Special 21/08/09 (183,300 streams)
  2. I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue: series 51, episode one (167,000 streams)
  3. 5 Live Sport: Premier League 2009-10, 14/03/09 (162,700 streams)
  4. The Chris Moyles Show, 06/07/09 (129,700 streams)
  5. Stephen Nolan, 07/11/09 (115,800 streams)

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