Peaky Blinders’ channel hop aids biggest ever series launch
The show moved from BBC Two to BBC One for the fifth series.
Peaky Blinders’ move from BBC Two to BBC One has given the drama its highest overnight ratings for series launch so far, the corporation has said.
The first episode of series five, which aired at 9pm on Sunday night, was watched by an average of 3.7 million people, peaking at four million, winning the 9pm timeslot.
The first episode of series four aired on BBC Two to overnight ratings of 2.3 million, while series three debuted to two million viewers.
ITV drama Sanditon, which is based on an unfinished Jane Austen novel, was watched by an average of 3.3 million people, peaking at 3.6 million in the same timeslot.
Peaky Blinders gave BBC One at 23% share of viewers watching, while ITV had a 20% share. ITV figures include +1 and HD.
Peaky Blinders, which focuses on the Shelby family’s criminal organisation in the aftermath of the First World War, has been a hit across the world.
Following its win for best drama at last year’s TV Baftas, the Steven Knight-penned programme channel-hopped from BBC Two to BBC One.
The new series plunges the main characters into the world of politics, with Cillian Murphy’s character Tommy Shelby in place as an MP in Birmingham.
Peaky Blinders also stars Paul Anderson, Sophie Rundle, Finn Cole, and Helen McCrory, but the series premiere prompted fans to call for the show to win yet another Bafta for a horse, rather than a performer.
The episode saw Shelby shoot a horse and while viewers were heartbroken at the moving scene, they were impressed at the way the animal played dead, and called for him to win a gong.
Meanwhile Sanditon, which is set in the 19th century, tells the story of the impulsive, spirited and unconventional Charlotte Heywood and her spiky relationship with the charming and wild Sidney Parker.
When a chance accident transports her from her rural home town of Willingden to the coastal resort of the title, it exposes Charlotte to the intrigues and dalliances of a seaside town on the make, and the characters whose fortunes depend on its commercial success.
The twists and turns of the plot, which takes viewers from the West Indies to the rotting alleys of London, exposes the hidden agendas of each character and sees Charlotte discover herself and ultimately find love.
Divergent star Theo James plays Sidney opposite Curfew actress Rose Williams as Charlotte, with Last Tango In Halifax star Anne Reid and Death In Paradise actor Kris Marshall also in the cast.
The script has been written by Andrew Davies, who was responsible for adaptations of War & Peace, Les Miserables and Pride And Prejudice.
Peaky Blinders continues on BBC One on Monday at 9.30pm, while Sanditon continues on ITV at 9pm on Sunday.