700,000 viewers turn off Line of Duty after first episode of eagerly-awaited new season 


Decline of Duty: 700,000 viewers turn off hit police corruption drama Line of Duty after first episode of eagerly-awaited new season

The first episode of the series launched with the highest ever ratings in its history.

But Line of Duty saw a substantial drop in viewing figures between its first and second episodes, with some 700,000 people turning off. 

While the BBC show, about an anti-corruption police unit, is still the most watched drama of the year, it dropped from 9.6million viewers to 8.9million on Sunday night.

The eagerly awaited sixth series, which reunites stars Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar and Martin Compston, has had mixed reviews so far. 

Line of Duty saw a substantial drop in viewing figures between its first and second episodes, with some 700,000 people turning off

Line of Duty saw a substantial drop in viewing figures between its first and second episodes, with some 700,000 people turning off

While many have praised it as a return to form, others have criticised its overly complicated police jargon and twisting plots.  

The drop in viewing figures between episodes one and two could be a case of more people planning to tune in on catch-up after the excitement of watching the first episode in real-time.

The BBC revealed that the first episode has now been watched by 13.8 million people, including those who have caught up on iPlayer, in the week after it was first broadcast on BBC1.

The launch episode of series six was watched by two million more viewers than the first episode of series five, which had 7.8million.

The new series, starring Kelly MacDonald, already has viewers scratching their heads over the alleged mishandling of a murder investigation with many clues, potential red herrings and references to past series thrown into the mix.

Consolidated figures from audience research organisation Barb showed a total of 13.1 million viewers watched the programme, which returned to television screens earlier this month.

The eagerly awaited sixth series, which reunites stars Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar and Martin Compston, has had mixed reviews so far

The eagerly awaited sixth series, which reunites stars Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar and Martin Compston, has had mixed reviews so far

It was the most watched episode of drama since the finale of Bodyguard, also created by Jed Mercurio, in September 2018, which had an audience of 14.3 million.

The finale of series five of Line Of Duty drew 12.1 million viewers in 2018.

The show returned on March 21, with anti-corruption unit AC-12 investigating a new case regarding the senior officer in an unsolved murder case.

The episode drew complaints to the BBC over how a character with Down’s syndrome was referred to, the corporation later said.

The first episode saw Terry Boyle, a character with Down’s syndrome, played by Tommy Jessop, arrested for the murder of journalist Gail Vella.

The character was referred to as an “oddball” by Superintendent Ted Hastings (played by Dunbar) which drew complaints from viewers.

The BBC said Supt Hastings’ remark was not a reference to his disability, but rather to a theory he had been stalking the journalist.

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