The lavish adaptation of Philip Pullman’s books from Bad Wolf was watched by nearly 7.2M viewers in the 8PM slot on BBC One on Sunday night, making it the biggest new drama launch on British TV in more than five years.
The eight-part series was the highest-rated drama premiere on any channel since BBC One’s The Musketeers was watched by 7.4M in January 2014, according to the BBC. It was also comfortably the biggest show in the slot, according to BARB figures provided by overnights.tv.
His Dark Materials beat the debuts of other dramas on BBC One this year, including Gentleman Jack (5.1M), Baptiste (4.5M), and Les Miserables (4.5M). The channel’s biggest drama of 2019 so far was the first episode in series five of Line Of Duty, which was watched by 7.8M viewers. These all aired at the later time of 9PM.
Written by Jack Thorne, His Dark Materials has been lavished with praise in the British press for dramatizing the world Pullman created with his trilogy books, which began with Northern Lights in 1995.
“There is time and space to do the books justice and the first episode, in all its steampunkish glory, gave every sign that the potential is to be realised,” said The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan in a five-star review.
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