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More tablets, such as the Apple iPad and Google Nexus 7, were used to watch the iPlayer than smartphones, according to the latest figures for the catch-up TV service revealed by the BBC.

Tablets and smartphones accounted for 81 million views overall in March, with tablets accounting for 41 million requests. Together, tablets and smartphones now account for over 30 per cent of overall requests. 272 million BBC iPlayer requests in March, equalling the record breaking figures from January this year

Radio plays were up considerably, growing by 7 per cent to reach 72 million requests, 83 per cent of which was accounted for by live listening.

The Top Gear: Africa Special proved very popular, with a huge 5.7 million requests across parts 1 and 2. One-off specials such as Comic Relief 2013 Funny for Money and Our Girl also did well, as did the new series of The Voice UK

Average daily requests remained high with an average of 8.1 million. Weekly requests also continued to be strong, peaking at 60 million in the second week of the month. The last week in March saw a small dip compared to recent weeks most likely caused by the Easter holiday; and the long weekend affected radio requests more than TV.

The profile of BBC iPlayer users has evened out over time in terms of male/female ratio, but remains strongly under-55 in terms of age, which is younger than the typical TV viewer or radio listener’s profile (although more in line with home broadband users).

A BBC spokesman said: “During 2012, the BBC brought selected online-only programmes to audiences. These included BBC Three comedy pilots, a Doctor Who web series called Pond Life, and curated archive programmes for BBC Four.”

“We will build on this in 2013, and make a small number of additional programmes exclusively available to our audiences via BBC iPlayer.”