Entertainment & Arts

Sherlock tops 2014 iPlayer chart

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock
Image caption The series opener saw Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock apparently return from the dead.

The return of Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC One's Sherlock was the most popular programme on iPlayer last year.

Broadcast in January 2014, the first episode of the third series - which saw Sherlock apparently return from the dead - was requested 4.2 million times.

All three episodes in the 2014 Sherlock series were included in the top 10.

The second most-watched programme on the catch-up service was the opening episode of 2014's series of Top Gear, which took four of the top 10 slots.

The Burma special, which was later found to have breached broadcasting rules after Jeremy Clarkson used a racial slur, was the fourth most watched show on iPlayer last year.

The controversial Top Gear special in Argentina was the most popular iPlayer show over the UK's Christmas period - and 15th in the overall chart for most requested programmes across 2014.

iPlayer top 10
Sherlock - Series 3, The Empty Hearse (Episode 1)
Top Gear - Series 21, (Episode 1)
Top Gear - Series 21, (Episode 3)
Top Gear - Series 21, Burma Special - Part 1 (Episode 6)
Sherlock - Series 3, The Sign of Three (Episode 2)
Sherlock - Series 3, His Last Vow (Episode 3)
Top Gear - Series 21, Episode 2
Murdered by My Boyfriend
Doctor Who - Series 8, Deep Breath (Episode 1)

Only BBC Three documentary Murdered by My Boyfriend, comedy Outnumbered and Doctor Who succeeded in breaking Sherlock and Top Gear's stranglehold on the top 10.

"Really thrilling to see Sherlock at the very top of the iPlayer ratings," said Sherlock co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.

"We always knew he'd survive jumping off that building, but we never thought he'd fly so high."

The return of Sherlock to BBC One was watched by an average 9.2 million people when it first aired on New Year's Day last year.

Moffat's other major series - Doctor Who - made it into 10th place.

Deep Breath, which introduced new Doctor Peter Capaldi, was requested 2.8 million times.

Among shows which aired only on the iPlayer, Frankie Boyle's Referendum Autopsy - which looked at the outcome of the Scottish independence poll - was among the most popular online-only shows with 715,000 requests.

BBC figures releases earlier this month showed a 25% rise in demand for its iPlayer catch-up service, year on year.

Overall, the iPlayer had its biggest year yet with 3.5 billion requests for TV and radio programmes, up from 3.1 billion in 2013.

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