Poldark edges out Victoria in battle of the Sunday night dramas – but loses almost 2 million viewers compared with series 1

Jenna Coleman gave Aidan Turner a run for his money as the ITV and BBC1 dramas went head to head for the first time

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The opening foray in the battle of the Sunday night period dramas was a close run thing as Aidan Turner’s Ross Poldark on BBC1 just edged out Jenna Coleman’s Victoria on ITV – despite dropping almost two million viewers compared with its series one launch.

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Season two of Poldark opened with an average audience of 5.1 million – a 22.7% share of those watching during the 9pm-10pm slot – compared with 4.8 million (21.4%) for episode three of Victoria (including HD but not ITV+1).

But the Cornwall-set BBC1 drama was down 1.8 million from the 6.9 million who tuned in for the first ever episode back in March 2015, when it was up against another ITV period drama, Mr Selfridge.

ITV will be pleased that Victoria’s audience held up against the much trumpeted return of Poldark and Aidan Turner, while the BBC may take some comfort from the fact that it managed to pip its rival despite the fact that the Jenna Coleman historical drama was already up and running, having aired it’s first two episodes on the Sunday and Monday of the bank holiday weekend.

But neither drama took the crown for the most watched show of the evening, which instead went to The X Factor on ITV between 8pm and 9pm.

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Sunday night’s show was watched by 7.46m viewers, a share of 31.5%, including HD.