Line Of Duty is most-watched drama series of 21st century – here are the other top 9

Sinead Butler
Tuesday 11 May 2021 17:45
Celebrities

Season 6 of Line of Duty has the UK gripped this year.

(YouTube/BBC)

Mother of God - Line Of Duty has become the UK’s most-watched drama series of the 21st century so far, after official ratings showed this year’s season finale had a TV audience of 15.24 million.

Ted Hastings and AC-12 would be proud.

This is 80,000 higher than the previous record, which was set by an episode of Heartbeat on ITV in February 2000 which had a TV audience of 15.16 million (what a throwback that is).

It seems that a lot of wanted to find out who the elusive top man was because the BBC One police thriller is now the highest-rated TV drama series since March 1999, when an episode of ITV’s A Touch Of Frost won an audience of 15.83 million.

Only a tiny number of programmes have managed to attract TV audiences of more than 15 million in the past decade, according to analysis by the PA news agency.

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Line Of Duty now shares this honour with The Great British Bake Off (15.9 million in October 2016), EastEnders (16.4 million in February 2010), Gavin & Stacey (17.1 million in December 2019) and The X Factor (17.7 million in December 2010).

The official ratings for Line Of Duty’s final episode, which was broadcast on May 2, have been published by the audience research organisation Barb.

They are consolidated ratings, meaning they include people who recorded and watched a broadcast up to seven days later – the industry standard for measuring TV audiences.

Line Of Duty’s record-breaking ratings means the top 10 most-watched drama series of the century are now evenly split between BBC One and ITV.

The list includes plenty of household favourites, such as Inspector Morse and Doctor Who, though five of the 10 date from either 2000 or 2001.

Here is the top 10 in full, compiled by the PA news agency using Barb data. It includes only drama series, not soap operas, and is based on the highest-rated instance of each programme:

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