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The top 10 most watched BBC iPlayer shows revealed

See which shows the nation couldn't get enough of in 2017

The top 10 most watched BBC iPlayer shows revealed

2017 was a bumper year for BBC iPlayer. A whopping 272m shows were streamed per month on average, culminating in the service’s most successful month to date, with 327m streams in December.

The number of streams across the year totalled 3.3bn, which is an 11% increase on 2016. iPlayer’s successful December also saw more people stream from a variety of devices. Views from TVs went up by 34%, computers by 3% and smartphones by 19%.

Top 5 TVs: watch iPlayer shows on the best screen possible by choosing a Which? recommended TV.

Which shows were the most watched? Dramas and documentaries dominated 2017, with no sign of EastEnders

Only two shows managed to get a big enough number of returning viewers to get two entries in the top 10. One was Blue Planet II, with a combined 8,328,000 streams, and the other was Three Girls with a total of 6,686,000.

Tom Hardy’s critically divisive period piece Taboo was the most watched drama, with series two of Doctor Foster coming in second.

No longer just a catch-up app

2017 marked the year when iPlayer went from being an app commonly used to catch up on shows you might’ve missed during the week, to a streaming service more akin to Netflix.

While the list of the most-watched shows highlights that iPlayer is still used principally to catch up on programmes, the BBC has added some new features that extends the catalogue beyond shows that have just been on air.

From The Archive added a range of classic content, including Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends and Storyville. More box sets were added, too, giving people the ability to watch an entire season of shows, such as Motherland and Top of the Lake, as soon as the first episode had been broadcast.

The best internet TV boxes give you access to all the must-have streaming apps. Check our list of the best streamers to see which we recommend.

What’s next for BBC 4K and HDR?

2017 was a landmark year for iPlayer for other reasons, too. It marked the first time the BBC streamed a show in 4K and HDR.

The show was Blue Planet II, and although the BBC didn’t confirm how many people streamed the show in 4K during the 30 days it was available, its likely that some of the 8m who watched the documentary did so in 4K.

It was the second 4K trial done by the BBC, which hopefully means dedicated 4K streams of its most popular shows will become the norm. 4K streaming is likely to come before a 4K channel due to limitations of broadcasting bandwidth.

The World Cup, which starts in June, would be a logical place to debut dedicated 4K streaming, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Looking to get started with 4K? Find out more and browse some of the best 4K TVs.

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