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Line Of Duty's 8.5m viewers is largest audience in programme's history

The fourth episode of BBC One's Line of Duty attracted the largest audience in the programme's history, new figures reveal.

Consolidated ratings for the episode that aired on Easter Sunday show that 8.5 million people tuned in to the police drama.

The Thandie Newton-led series has seen its number of viewers grow steadily since the show moved to BBC One this year.

The previous three series aired on BBC Two, where audiences peaked at 5.6 million.

Overnight ratings for the latest Line of Duty episode, which was broadcast on Sunday, suggested the show beat the return of ITV's Grantchester by more than two million viewers.

Line of Duty averaged an audience of 6.6 million, while James Norton's return attracted an average of 4.4 million.

The two shows went head to head in the 9pm slot, but even at its peak of 4.7 million viewers, Grantchester still had a two million shortfall in audience against its rival.

Meanwhile, Sunday night's other new addition to the schedules, The Durrells, returned with an audience of 5.5 million viewers, peaking at 5.9 million.

The ITV drama is based on British naturalist Gerard Durrell's autobiographical books such as My Family And Other Animals, which document his childhood growing up on the Greek island of Corfu.

Keeley Hawes returns as Louisa, a widowed mother who moves her family to the island in the 1930s, for the second series.

The figures for ITV include viewers of the ITV+1 and ITV HD channels.

The drama went head to head with the final episode of Top Gear in the 8pm time slot.

BBC Two's motoring programme peaked with an audience of 2.1 million and enjoyed an average audience of 1.9 million.

Viewers praised former Friends star Matt LeBlanc for "saving" the show as it came to a high-octane end with an episode that featured boat racing and nude ramblers.

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