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BBC pulls record number of iPlayer requests from Santa's seasonal sack

The Big British Casserole received over 145 million iPlayer requests during December 2010, with angry old men shouting proving a popular formula.

The BBC's iPlayer catch-up service received a record-breaking number of requests for TV and radio programmes in December 2010. Awooga! as John Fashanu might say, were this 1993.

Media-hungry punters made 145 million iPlayer requests over the period, an increase of 27 per cent on December 2009, and a 3 per cent rise on November 2010, when 141 million requests were made. Of December's requests, 89.7m were for TV programmes, another all-time high for the Big British Casserole.

The list of the ten most-requested TV programmes in December is dominated by shows that involve angry old men shouting: The Apprentice, Top Gear and EastEnders. Also in the top ten were Come Fly with Me and the Doctor Who Christmas special. 

In terms of radio, the Ashes coverage received the most requests, as our fearless lads cricketed their way to glory against the knavish Aussies down under.

iPlayer received a record-breaking 104m requests via computers in December. In the same month, PlayStation 3 owners also carved themselves a slice of record pie, making 7 million requests. Users of Virgin Media's TV services baked a record-breaking tartlet too, making 24 million requests.

Requests made in December via mobile devices didn't increase on November's 6 million. Don't let that sadden you, though -- it probably still riled mobile operators a treat.

On average, 3.9 million iPlayer requests were received every day during December, from an average of 1.5 million users.

December's rise in iPlayer usage is part of a consistent trend over the course of the last year, rather than a massive one-off spike due to the Christmas holidays. That's likely to give more ammunition to those who argue ISPs should be allowed to charge providers of bandwidth-hungry online services for delivering their content.