These are the biggest shows to watch on BBC iPlayer right now

As iPlayer celebrates another streaming record, these are the biggest hits on the BBC's streaming service

Dr Who on iPlayer
(Image credit: BBC)

BBC iPlayer is one of the best streaming services out there, not least because it's free to licence payers. And it's just celebrated another record-breaking year, serving up more than 7 billion streams for the first time ever. December was the best month in the best quarter iPlayer has ever seen, with 700 million streams in December alone and a whopping 2 billion between October and December.

So what was everyone streaming? The incredible Happy Valley isn't in the list, because after seven years away its final series only started this month, and some of the really big hits were one-off or irregular events such as the World Cup and the funeral of The Queen. And the figures also exclude long-running weekly soaps such as EastEnders, children's shows and the news. But some of the biggest hits might still surprise you.

It's no surprise that the World Cup topped the list, with over 92 million streams – nearly double the total streams of any other programming. But with an impressive 56 million streams Dr Who came in at number two – all the more impressive because  there were only three episodes broadcast last year.

At number three there's Peaky Blinders, whose "Black Day episode in Series 6 was the most popular episode of any series in 2022. It's followed by the Commonwealth Games, and in fifth place there's Waterloo Road. Even more so than Dr Who, that's the result of people streaming old episodes: the series ran from 2006 to 2015, and while there's a revival it didn't start until this month and therefore isn't included in these figures.

Things start getting fairly predictable further down the list. There's Death In Paradise at number six and Strictly Come Dancing at seven, with Silent Witness at number 8 with 44,665,000 streams – or roughly one stream per episode of a series that seems to have been running since the Stone Age.

The final two are both sports: Wimbledon and Match of the Day

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (