Bodyguard takes out Vanity Fair in Sunday night ratings head-to-head

Jed Mercurio's drama beat out the new Thackeray adaptation – and it wasn't even close

David Budd in Bodyguard, BBC

Two of the biggest dramas of the new TV season went head-to-head on Sunday night as BBC1’s Bodyguard faced off against ITV’s Vanity Fair at 9pm. Jed Mercurio’s thriller emerged victorious, and it wasn’t even close.


6.64m viewers tuned in to the explosive third episode of Bodyguard following last week’s double header, while 2.47m (including 0.84 from ITV HD) watched the new adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel (with a further 460,000 tuning in on ITV +1).

It’s a disappointing figure for the ITV drama, which boasts an excellent cast made up of Olivia Cooke, Michael Palin, Suranne Jones and Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Anthony Stewart Head – but in the on demand era, it is far too early to write the series off as a failure, as viewers will have time to catch up on the ITVHub, with a second episode also due to air on Monday night.

The series failed to capitalise on a lead-in of 4.61m (including 1.92 from ITV HD) from the X Factor, which returned over the weekend with new line-up of judges including Robbie Williams, his wife Ayda Field and One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson. The numbers are disappointing for the ITV contest’s launch weekend which back in its 2010 heyday used to command an average of 14.3 million viewers across its series.


Bodyguard continues next Sunday at 9pm on BBC1, while Vanity Fair airs on Monday at 9pm on ITV before resuming next Sunday at the same time

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