Peaky Blinders beats out ITV’s Sanditon for best-ever launch

The Shelbys are back and they’re bigger than ever

Peaky Blinders' Cillian Murphy and Sanditon's Rose Williams (BBC, ITV)

Birmingham-based period drama Peaky Blinders made its BBC1 debut this bank holiday weekend, and the channel move (previously the crime drama aired on BBC2) brought in its best-ever viewing figures for a series launch.

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Airing at 9.00pm, Peaky Blinders series five’s debut pulled in 3.7 million viewers overnight, an all-time best for an opening episode from the series and slightly up on the 3.56 million that watched 2017’s series four finale (which aired on BBC2).

ITV’s new Jane Austen adaptation Sanditon, meanwhile, defied some expectations to perform admirably against the well-known BBC hit, pulling in a respectable 3.3 million viewers overnight in the same 9.00pm slot despite a comparative lack of name recognition.

Peaky Blinders had around a 23% share of the night’s viewers, with Sanditon scoring just over 20%.

Peaky Blinders series five’s second episode will air tonight (Monday 26th August) in the same slot again, and many will be watching closely to see if it can maintain its upward trajectory after an opening episode that saw fan-favourite characters return and new faces come into the Shelbys’ orbit. Oh, and there was a very dramatic horse.

Sanditon, meanwhile, shocked viewers with one racy scene, which wasn’t exactly in the source material…

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Peaky Blinders continues on BBC1 on Monday 26t August at 9.00pm, then 9.00pm on Sundays thereafter. Sandition continues on ITV on Sundays at 9.00pm