Hit dramas The Tourist and Peaky Blinders have helped BBC iPlayer achieve a record-breaking start to the year, the broadcaster has announced.
The streaming service said it had its strongest ever quarter from January to March 2022 as programmes were streamed 1.83 billion times, with streaming figures at more than 1.7 billion for the same period last year.
New psychological thriller The Tourist starring Jamie Dornan was the most popular drama during this period, with its first episode streamed 6.1 million times.
It was the second most watched series overall, excluding continuing series like EastEnders, news and children’s content, with 32 million streams.
The latest series of Lord Sugar’s business reality show The Apprentice came out on top as the most watched boxset as it was streamed 33 million.
The return of hit crime drama Peaky Blinders for its sixth and final series also boosted ratings as it was streamed 30 million times.
Its opening episode, which paid tribute to the late star Helen McCrory, racked up 5.1 million streams during the period.
McCrory, who starred as Shelby family matriarch Polly Gray, died from cancer aged 52 last April.
Other returning favourites including the last season of Killing Eve and Call the Midwife drew in 15 million and 22 million respectively.
New dramas including The Responder, This is Going to Hurt, The Rules of the Game and Chloe also contributed to iPlayer’s best quarter ever.
Coverage of Beijing 2022 The Winter Olympics was also a popular choice, with 29 million streams on iPlayer across the various events.
Director of BBC iPlayer Dan McGolpin said: “BBC iPlayer is more popular than ever in 2022 and the rollout of a more modern look has helped the service to notch up its best-ever quarter across the first three months.
“A formidable and thrilling collection of brand new drama series feature heavily on the most-watched programme lists, with The Tourist narrowly ahead of The Responder in first position for top episode and there has been a breath-taking choice available from the Winter Olympics to Green Planet, so it was fantastic to see the long-awaited return of The Apprentice make the top slot for total viewing across a full series.
“Together with the last-ever instalments of Peaky Blinders and Killing Eve landing towards the end of the quarter, two of iPlayer’s most popular programmes of all time, there really is something for everyone whether you’re in the mood for classic boxsets or brand new shows.”