Countryfile beats War and Peace finale and Call the Midwife with record TV audience

The BBC1 show recorded its biggest ever audience on Sunday night, with over 9.5 million people tuning in

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Sundays may be billed as big nights for British drama, but when it comes to ratings winners there’s one show that blows them all away.

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BBC1 rural affairs show Countryfile beat the series finale of War and Peace, Call the Midwife and ITV drama Vera in the TV ratings on Sunday 7th February, and set a new series record in the process.

An average of 8.6 million people tuned in to Countryfile from 7-8pm, to watch presenters Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison tramp through Tyne and Wear. At its peak, 9.6 million people were watching the episode according to overnight figures.

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Immediately after Countryfile, BBC1 drama Call the Midwife managed 7.96 million viewers, while the final episode of War and Peace on BBC1 mustered 5.66 million viewers at 9pm.

Vera meanwhile managed 4.6 million if you including both ITV and ITV HD viewers.

It marked a new ratings high for Countryfile, a show that has enjoyed a roaring start to 2016. Sunday’s episode was, according to the BBC, the highest-rated episode in the programme’s 27-year history – although the way viewing figures are measured have changed slightly since 2002. 

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Bill Lyons, Countryfile Executive Producer, was unsurprisingly delighted. “These audience figures are a real winter warmer!” he told RadioTimes.com. “We’re delighted that so many people are coming to Countryfile to celebrate Britain’s landscape, its farming and rural heritage – whatever the weather.”