BBC cop drama Line of Duty has scored its highest ever opening ratings – was the Jed Mercurio-created series helped by the Bodyguard effect?
The fifth season launched with 7.8M overnight viewers on BBC One, scoring a 38% share. This trumped the 5M for its fourth season launch, which was its first since moving from BBC Two, as well as the 7.5M viewers that tuned in for last year’s finale. It hit a peak of 8M during its hour-long return.
The ratings mean that the World Productions drama currently sits as the highest rated programme across all channels in 2019 so far. It was also a hit for 16-34 viewers, making it the second highest rated show in that demo following an FA Cup soccer game in January.
Season five of Line of Duty will air on Acorn TV in the U.S. Hulu previously premiered the show in the States but the SVOD service has taken the first run rights to the Kew Media-distributed series.
The ratings rise comes as Boardwalk Empire star Stephen Graham joins the series. He stars as as John Corbett, the ruthless leader of an Organised Crime Group (OCG), who hijack a seized drugs transport. It comes after three police officers are shot dead during the hijack and AC-12 move in to investigate possible police collusion. AC-12 investigators Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), Detective Inspector Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) suspect corrupt police officers of leaking information.
Produced by Ken Horn, executive producers are Jed Mercurio, Simon Heath and Priscilla Parish for World Productions, and Tommy Bulfin for the BBC. The series is directed by John Strickland and Susan Tully. Line of Duty is made with support from Northern Ireland Screen.