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Doctor Who breaks iPlayer record to beat Olympics opening ceremony

'The Day Of The Doctor' received 1.27m online requests in 24 hours

The Doctor Who anniversary special has beaten the Olympic opening ceremony to set a new iPlayer record after receiving 1.27 million requests online in the space of just 24 hours.

Broadcast on Saturday 23 November, The Day of the Doctor was watched by 12.8 million people on BBC One and has attracted 2.9 million iPlayer requests so far, making it the most-viewed drama of 2013.

Danny Boyle's London Olympics opening ceremony had set the previous iPlayer requests record of just over 1 million.

The hotly-awaited episode also broke the Guinness World Record for the largest global TV drama simulcast when it was broadcast in more than 1,500 cinemas across 94 countries.

Current leads Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman were joined by Billie Piper, John Hurt and the nation’s favourite Doctor, David Tennant, for the 75-minute show, which generated a massive 442,692 tweets.

At the peak of the episode, written by Steven Moffat, 12,939 tweets a minute were posted by excited fans.

A hit for the UK box office, The Day of the Doctor was shown in 3D and earned over £1.7 million on the day it was screened, with only The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Gravity taking more in sales.

Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC drama commissioning, praised the success of “a hugely ambitious event”.

He said: “It’s only fitting that it has taken the top spot as the highest-rating drama across all channels this year. It’s a fantastic tribute to Steven Moffat and the creativity of all those involved in the show throughout its history. Next stop the regeneration at Christmas!”

Matt Smith’s final appearance as the Doctor will be in Christmas special, The Time of the Doctor due to air on Christmas Day, before he is replaced by The Thick Of It actor Peter Capaldi.

Producers have promised to tackle the 'regeneration riddle' in the festive episode, with Matt Smith expected to reveal himself as the '13th Doctor'.