Prisoners’ Wives locks in nearly 5 million viewers on BBC1

New drama starring Emma Rigby and Polly Walker is rewarded for good behaviour in the ratings

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New BBC1 drama Prisoners’ Wives debuted last night to an average audience of 4.92 million viewers, a 20.4 per cent share of all those watching television at that time. 

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The drama, which aired between 9 and 10pm on BBC1, is based around the lives of women left behind when their husbands are locked away.  It stars former Hollyoaks actress Emma Rigby, Polly Walker, Natalie Gavin and Pippa Haywood.  

First of a six-part series, the show easily won the 9pm time slot, beating off competition from The Biggest Loser on ITV1 (2.18m/9%), 15 Kids and Counting (2.40m/9.9%) on Channel 4, Channel 5’s Body of Proof (1.33m/5.5%) and Wonderland (1.18m/4.9%) on BBC2.

Prisoners’ Wives enjoyed a good inherited audience from hospital favourite Holby City, which attracted 5.32 million viewers (22.2% share) on BBC1 in the preceding hour. 

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The biggest ratings of the evening on both the BBC and ITV unsurprisingly came from the soaps.  Emmerdale attracted 6.59 million viewers (30.5% share) from 7 to 7:30pm on ITV1, and EastEnders was the most viewed TV show of the night across all channels, pulling in 8.35 million punters (36.8% share) to BBC1 between 7:30 and 8pm.