Line Of Duty is BBC iPlayer’s most popular episode and boxset of 2021

BBC iPlayer is on track for over 6 billion streams in 2021 - its best year ever.

Published: 12:01 am, 21 December 2021
Updated: 12:01 am, 21 December 2021
It’s been an incredible year for BBC iPlayer with a unique mix of programmes driving more viewing than ever before. Line Of Duty tops the tables and it’s fantastic to see so many other brand-new drama series also featuring highly alongside those memorable sporting moments from last summer and some of the best documentary series of the year."
— Dan McGolpin
  • Line Of Duty’s return is BBC iPlayer’s biggest episode of the year so far, with the first episode of the sixth series streamed 9.2 million times, and the boxset has been streamed 137 million times.  In addition, consolidated figures* show a huge 14.6m people watched the first episode of series six in its first 28 days – with the series peaking at 15.9m viewers for the final episode
  • iPlayer is on track to break 6 billion streams in a year for the first time, with 5.9 billion up to the end of November – 586 million more than the same time last year
  • Vigil, Time, The Serpent, and Italy vs England in the final of Euro 2020 also make iPlayer’s top ten episodes per programmes of the year.  Consolidated figures also show the huge success of these programmes on both BBC broadcast channels and iPlayer, with Vigil (12.2m), Time (10.8m), The Serpent (8.3m) and Italy vs England in the final of Euro 2020 (17.8m) all being watched in their millions
  • The Olympics and Euro 2020 both among the biggest titles of the year, plus boxsets of Pretty Little Liars, Waterloo Road, Doctor Who, and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK are all in the top ten

Dan McGolpin, director of BBC iPlayer and channels, says: “It’s been an incredible year for BBC iPlayer with a unique mix of programmes driving more viewing than ever before. Line Of Duty tops the tables and it’s fantastic to see so many other brand-new drama series also featuring highly alongside those memorable sporting moments from last summer and some of the best documentary series of the year.

"Of course, the year’s not over yet and BBC iPlayer has something for everyone this Christmas, brand new boxsets like The Girl Before, A Very British Scandal and Around the World in 80 Days, a thrilling selection of blockbuster movies and an unrivalled collection of Christmas specials both past and present.”

As well as Line Of Duty, 2021’s biggest episodes also included submarine thriller Vigil, prison drama Time, and the thrilling conclusion of Euro 2020 with the final between Italy and England. Other big hitters on iPlayer included exotic crime thriller The Serpent, Northern Ireland-based police drama Bloodlands and Welsh mystery series The Pact.  Consolidated figures also showed 10m watched Bloodlands and 7.3m watched The Pact within their first 28 days.

EastEnders had another fantastic year, with the show streamed 257 million times across the year so far – almost 100 million more than the same period last year, though the show went on extended hiatus in 2020 after a break in filming due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

BBC iPlayer’s top episodes per programme in 2021 so far** are:

Rank

Programme

Episode

Streams

1

Line Of Duty

Series 6 - episode 1

9.2m

2

Vigil

Episode 1

8.0m

3

Time

Episode 1

7.3m

4

The Serpent

Episode 1

6.3m

5

Euro 2020

Final: Italy v England

6.0m

6

Bloodlands

Episode 1

5.1m

7

The Pact

Episode 1

4.7m

8

Traces

Episode 1

4.4m

9

A Perfect Planet

Volcano

3.7m

10

Forensics: The Real CSI

Series 2 – An Admission of Murder

3.6m

The biggest titles on iPlayer this year so far* are: 

Rank

Programme

Streams

1

Line Of Duty

137.1m

2

Olympics

90.2m

3

Pretty Little Liars

79.9m

4

Euro 2020

68.2m

5

Silent Witness

62.3m

6

Waterloo Road

45.3m

7

Doctor Who

41.8m

8

Death In Paradise

39.7m

9

The Serpent

35.4m

10

RuPaul's Drag Race UK

33.3m

RB

Notes to editors:

All figures are from between 1 January to 30 November 2021, excluding Sky PDL data for November, which is as yet incomplete. This has also been excluded from 2020 data for a fair comparison.

* The consolidated figure is an average audience volume which includes viewing live and up to 28 days after its initial broadcast via a TV. This can include iPlayer if viewing occurred through a TV

**Excluding continuing series like EastEnders, news and children’s content