In these difficult times, people are using BBC iPlayer more than ever; to watch the latest news coverage, to learn something new and to sit back and be entertained.Dan McGolpin
Date: 21.04.2020     Last updated: 21.04.2020 at 00.01
The BBC is bringing a number of new box sets back to iPlayer to help keep people entertained as people in the UK remain under lockdown, including the recent hit supernatural drama Dracula and the Tom Hardy-starring Taboo, as well as popular comedies The Kumars at No.42 and My Family.

In addition, the BBC has unveiled record numbers of viewers have been catching the latest news, watching live TV and indulging in box sets from recent and classic BBC programmes on the service during this unprecedented period. Monday 23 March was iPlayer’s most popular day ever, with a record 20.4 million requests to stream programmes on the service, as the Prime Minister addressed the nation. This is the first time iPlayer has seen over 20m programmes requested in a day. And last Monday (13 April), the epic return of Killing Eve and conclusion of thrilling drama, The Nest - saw iPlayer’s second biggest day ever, with 20.2 million programme requests, showing the demand for world class drama as well as news during this current time. In fact, in its first week alone, episode one of series three of Killing Eve had 2.8m requests to stream it on iPlayer.

Adding to the vast range of programming available on iPlayer already - including critically acclaimed sci-fi thriller Devs - box sets of Dracula and Taboo return to iPlayer today. Dracula comes back after a terrific start to the year, as viewers sank their teeth into the supernatural drama from the makers of Sherlock. The three-part series follows Claes Bang as the Count in a witty and fresh retelling of the famous story and was a huge hit for iPlayer at the beginning of the year.

Taboo is a visually stunning, dark drama based on a story written by Tom Hardy with his father. The series explores the story of James Delaney, played by Hardy, a mysterious figure from the early 19th century who returns to London from Africa after the death of his father, and is soon encircled by conspiracy, murder and betrayal.

Also coming to iPlayer as part of Culture in Quarantine are a selection of extraordinary productions from the Royal Shakespeare Company. These include some of the bard’s best-known plays, including Hamlet, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, Othello and The Merchant of Venice, and feature stars like Christopher Ecclestone and Paapa Essiedu.

Other programmes returning to iPlayer include both series of Bafta-winning drama Doctor Foster, all 11 series of long-running sitcom My Family, comedy entertainment show The Kumars at No.42, and every episode of detective drama Strike, based on the books by JK Rowling. And from BBC Wales, the arrival of comedy series - Tourist Trap as well as Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience - will give viewers some light relief at this time.

BBC iPlayer also recently added both series of The A Word, David Walliams children’s shows Billionaire Boy, The Midnight Gang, and Grandpa’s Escape, plus a number of programmes in the Performance Live series, as part of Culture in Quarantine. These new shows joined a number of high-profile box sets recently added, including Devs, Spooks, French and Saunders, The Missing, Baptiste, Wallander, The Honourable Woman and Waking the Dead.

The box sets returning to iPlayer are:

  • Dracula - 21 April
  • Taboo - 21 April
  • Tourist Trap - 21 April
  • Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience - 21 April
  • Royal Shakespeare Company plays - 23 April
  • My Family - 24 April
  • Doctor Foster - 12 June
  • The Kumars at No. 42 - 13th June
  • Strike - 18 June

Dan McGolpin, controller of programming and iPlayer, says: “In these difficult times, people are using BBC iPlayer more than ever; to watch the latest news coverage, to learn something new and to sit back and be entertained. It’s already the place to see brand new Killing Eve and we’re now adding even more choice, you’ll be able immerse yourself in hit drama series such as Dracula and Taboo or have a good laugh watching comedies like The Kumars at No.42 and My Family.”

RB