British TV ratings: ‘Call the Midwife’ season 5 off to great start; ‘War and Peace’ down

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Everyone expected that “Call the Midwife” would likely premiere to strong numbers on BBC One Sunday night, but the question was simply just how strong we were really talking about.

In the end, it’s mostly good news for the network. The Helen George series drew almost 8 million viewers for the season 5 premiere, which is a drop of less than 5% from the season 4 premiere (8.3 million). Typically shows lose a little bit of their audience year-to-year after hitting their peak, and here it seems that the peak was season 3 when Jessica Raine was still a key component of the series. The show already has been renewed for a sixth season, so there is not any real concern regarding whether or not it can continue to draw good numbers. We figure that some long as it is getting anywhere higher than 6.5 million, the only reason the network would want to end it would be because the showrunners / cast wanted to move on.

Elsewhere on the night, the third episode of “War and Peace” (5.1 million) shed about 200,000 viewers from the week before; this was in some ways expected, but at the same time we wondered whether or not airing after “Call the Midwife” would produce any sort of ratings lift, even if it was just from some viewers who could not be bothered to turn off their television sets. There are still three more episodes of this miniseries left, and at this point we’ll see whether or not this was truly worth the cost.

The next new episode of “Call the Midwife” will air on BBC One this Sunday; head over here if you are interested in getting a review for the premiere episode right now!

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