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Line of Duty: Season 5: 2019’s most-watched TV show

Updated 02-04-19 | 08:10 AM | Staff Reporter

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The opening episode of Line of Duty Season 5 is the most-watched TV episode of 2019 to date.

The cop drama racked up 7.8 million viewers on BBC One when it premiered its fifth run on Sunday night, which makes it the most-watched programme of live TV of the year so far. It’s also the most watched episode of the series so far, eclipsing the 5.4 million and 7.5 million who tuned in for Season 4’s opener and closer.

That success should come as no surprise given the man behind it is Jed Mercurio. The closest thing the UK has to a US-style showrunner like Ryan Murphy, the TV hitmaker broke records last year with security thriller Bodyguard. The opening of that show was seen live by 6.6 million last year, with its finale drawing 10.4 million viewers. Taking into account catch-up and the figures were even more impressive: Every episode of the Golden Globe-nominated drama made it into BBC iPlayer’s top 10 most-watched episodes of the year, receiving 41.3 million requests overall, which makes it BBC iPlayer’s biggest box set ever. Bodyguard reached 17 million people with its finale in just one month.

“Season 5 of Line of Duty gets off to a thrilling, gripping, surprising start,” we wrote in our review of the opening episode, now available on BBC iPlayer, adding that it “already promises to drive you mad with speculation over the coming episodes”.

“Strap in, because judging by this superbly directed first chapter, Season 5 is set to be another page-turner,” we added. “Welcome back, Line of Duty. Our sweaty palms missed you.”

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