The 90-minute Hartswood Films drama, the first of three parts, was watched by an audience of 3.6M between 9PM and 10.30PM on BBC One, according to BARB figures supplied by overnights.tv.
It was the top-rated show in its slot, but its 19.2% share of the total viewing population at the time was down on BBC One’s usual viewing share of 24.2%.
Dracula was also well short of the first episode of Moffat and Gatiss’ last literary adaptation, Sherlock, which launched with 7.5M in July 2010. This was, however, before a major explosion in online and catch-up viewing, which will surely lift Dracula‘s audience significantly over the coming days.
Elsewhere on BBC One, Jodie Whittaker returned for her second season as Doctor Who in a blockbuster opener, which was seen by 4.96M over the 7PM hour on BBC One.
Billed as the most ambitious episode of Doctor Who ever, its overnight audience was Whittaker’s lowest yet as the Tardis-travelling Time Lord. It was also well down on her debut in season 11, which drew 8.2M viewers in October 2018.
The BBC Studios-produced sci-fi series was just edged by Emmerdale. ITV’s long-running soap was the most-watched show of New Year’s Day with 5M viewers, according to overnights.tv.
It was not all bad news for Whittaker, however. Her second season opener beat Peter Capaldi’s equivalent episode, which was seen 4.6M in September 2015.