Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ version of Dracula is being lavished with praise by British critics, but a good chunk of its audience slipped away for its second episode on Thursday night.
The blood-soaked BBC One drama, which launches globally on Netflix on January 4, was watched by 2.8M viewers in a 90-minute slot at 9PM, according to BARB figures provided by overnights.tv.
This was 22%, or 800,000 viewers, down from the first episode’s performance of 3.6M viewers on New Year’s Day — an underwhelming showing given Moffat and Gatiss’ last big literary reimagination, Sherlock, debuted with 7.5M in July 2010.
These are different times, however, and there are lower live audiences for dramas than there were nearly a decade ago. Once catchup and online viewing is accounted for, Dracula‘s audience should rise considerably.
But even with this important caveat, Dracula‘s live rating could be better. The Hartswood Film show was the highest-rated show at 9PM — beating ITV drama Bancroft’s 2.6M — but its 15.6% share of the viewing population at the time was below the 18.1% share a BBC One show would usually attract on a Thursday night.
Dracula‘s three-part run concludes tonight, and the show’s first two installments have been hailed by critics. The second episode featured Count Dracula making a ghoulish sea voyage to Britain, with the story of the journey tipping more than a nod and a wink to classic Agatha Christie tales.
“BBC One’s new series Dracula is a pure and joyous BELTER,” remarked The Guardian in a five-star review. “Brilliantly blood curdling,” was the verdict of the Daily Mail, which also handed out five stars. So too did The Daily Telegraph, which branded the second episode a “hugely entertaining ride.”
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