Line of Duty‘s series five opener drew in a peak audience of over 8 million viewers, with an average of 7.8 million watching the entire episode — a higher figure than the show’s season four finale in 2017.
The tense episode, which began with a violent robbery that saw three police officers killed, marked the return of the AC-12 team following a two-year hiatus.
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The new viewing figures are sure to prove music to creator Jed Mercurio’s ears — last series’ opener averaged 5.5 million, while the series four finale drew in an overnight average of 7.5 million.
Line of Duty also trumped its rivals in the Sunday 9pm slot.
Victoria (the second most-watched show) drew in an average of 2.7 million viewers across ITV’s main channel and HD, peaking at 2.9m, while Tasmania: Weird and Wonderful on BBC2 earned an average of 1.16m (peaking at 1.17m). Formula 1’s Bahrain Grand Prix Highlights on Channel 4 was watched by 1.3m (peaking at 1.9m).
Line of Duty also secured 38% of the total TV audience watching at that time. The BBC2, ITV and Channel 4 broadcasts by contrast earned a combined 26.5% of the audience share.
The series opener was full of shocks, dramatic deaths and an emerging conspiracy, with an undercover police officer at the heart of balaclava gang. Read our recap here.
Line of Duty continues on Sundays at 9pm on BBC1