Victoria writer laments series airing in the UK after America – and going head-to-head with Line of Duty

“It's a dark art, scheduling, and it can be very demoralising for people”

Queen Victoria in ITV's Victoria

Victoria writer Daisy Goodwin has spoken out about the ITV historical drama going head-to-head with BBC giant Line of Duty in a bitter Sunday night ratings war.

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Jed Mercurio’s police drama has toppled Jenna Coleman’s biopic of Queen Victoria in the overnight viewing figures, with 7.1 million tuning in at 9pm on 31st March to see episode one of the new series, compared with the more modest 3 million who watched the next chapter in the young queen’s life.

Speaking about the “dark art” of scheduling, Goodwin told Radio Times magazine that she felt the more “die-hard” Victoria fans may have “illegally streamed” the show online, after the third series was broadcast in America and Australia before it hit UK shores.

Jenna Coleman plays Queen Victoria

“In these days of the box-set binge, where you can emerge bleary-eyed, wondering where the last six hours went, I rather love a dainty morsel of television that leaves you wanting more,” she explained, adding she hoped there were still fans out there who would watch the show in the traditional manner.

“It’s a dark art, scheduling, and it can be very demoralising for people who have dedicated themselves to making something special to realise that for the scheduler your carefully-honed drama is nothing more than a line of sandbags against Bodyguard 2 or, in Victoria’s case, Line of Duty,” she continued.

Killing Eve trailer, BBC

The discrepancies between schedules globally has now seen Goodwin call for the fourth series of Victoria, which she’s currently writing, to be broadcast worldwide at the same time to avoid sliding ratings.

“[I hope] the gods of scheduling look favourably upon it and decide to put it out simultaneously with the US broadcast,” she said.

She added that viewers can expect next year’s episodes to be “the darkest yet”.

“I’m not giving the plot away; anyone can look up the cataclysm to come on Wikipedia.”

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Victoria continues Sundays at 9pm on ITV