Fifa World Cup helps iPlayer score its biggest July on record

England's quarter-final against Sweden was the top requested programme.

Football fans tuning in to watch England’s run to the semi-finals of the Fifa World Cup helped the BBC’s iPlayer service score its best July performance on record.

Figures published by the broadcaster point to a 19% growth in the number of requests when compared to the same month last year, with a total of 281 million logged.

England’s quarter-final against Sweden was the top requested programme with 3.1 million, making it the BBC’s biggest online live event ever.

The tournament’s group stage saw live TV requests make up over a quarter of all requests on the streaming service in June – the highest share of live viewing since the Rio Olympics 2016.

Dan McGolpin, controller of programming & daytime BBC Content, said: “It’s been an incredible summer of sport on the BBC and that together with our summer boxsets selection has helped BBC iPlayer to grow strongly on last year.

“England’s quarter-final against Sweden was the BBC’s highest online-viewed live programme ever.”

Outside of the football there were also good performances from military drama series Our Girl, EastEnders and The Misadventures Of Romesh Ranganathan.

Romesh Ranganathan
The debut episode of comedian Romesh Ranganathan’s travel show had over one million iPlayer requests (Ian West/PA)

The fifth episode of Our Girl, which stars former Coronation Street actress Michelle Keegan as Lance Corporal Georgie Lane, attracted the sixth highest number of requests in July with 1.5 million.

This was higher than the number of requests to watch the World Cup final contested by France and Croatia by around 120,000.

An episode of EastEnders that aired on July 2 received 1.3 million requests.

The soap opera featured a knife crime storyline this summer which included the funeral of character Shakil Kazemi, who was stabbed to death by a gang.

The first episode of Australian series Picnic At Hanging Rock had 1.1 million requests while the debut episode of comedian Ranganathan’s travel show also had over one million.

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