‘War and Peace’ has strong ratings start on BBC One, but no ‘Call the Midwife’ or ‘Sherlock’

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Is “War and Peace” slated to become a dominant ratings force in Great Britain throughout its first six episodes? While we’re not going to say that it is an unstoppable force, but it did at least show that there are many viewers out there interested in an adaptation of the Tolstoy classic.

As a whole, 6.3 million viewers tuned in to the critically-acclaimed first hour, which is the second-best performance that the network had for a scripted show since before Christmas. The only one to beat it was “Sherlock,” which clocked over eight million for “The Abominable Bride.”

In comparing it to the other January hits for the BBC, this is also a lower number than they have seen for either “The Voice” UK or non-holiday episodes of “Call the Midwife,” but it is ultimately hard to compare given that these shows are established now whereas “War and Peace” is a newcomer. Our concern mostly for the six-part series is that the reputation for the source material as somewhat long-winded and boring could come back to bite it. This hasn’t happened so far, and it remains to be seen if everyone remains hooked.

We’ve always felt that the true test of a show’s strength happens around week three, since the majority of the people watching at that point are the ones intended to stay put for the long haul. That’s especially the case here given that this series has a definite beginning, middle, and end. We’ll keep watch over the ratings moving forward to see what happens.

If you missed it, head over here to get our full review of the premiere of “War and Peace” right now! Also, sign up at this link to gather some more updates on everything we cover, sent right over to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: BBC One.)

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