'Sherlock' Season Three Premiere Draws Highest Audience for Series Ever in the UK

Categories: 1-Featured,Broadcast TV

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January 2nd, 2014


Sherlock premiered its third season last night in the UK to a record 9.2 million total viewers (a 33.8% share), which marks the best performance of any episode of the series, ever. It also makes Sherlock the most-watched "holiday" drama for the BBC, beating out holiday episodes of Doctor Who and Downton Abbey.

Sherlock will be making its debut stateside on PBS January 19.

  • Silent Hunter

    That’s just Live+SD; it will easily clear 10 million, if not 11, when the final Live+7 figures are released.

  • Byrd

    And it was excellent too!!!

  • Barb

    Now they need to do something that they do with Doctor Who – air it the same day in the States (the same for Downton Abby). No way in heck I’m waiting for it to air later here to watch it.

  • ludotv

    Great result but it is a bit silly, in this day and age that they would not air in the US at the same time considering how popular the show is stateside too and that fans have been waiting for about 2 years for this….

  • Ike

    What the hell is PBS thinking, not airing it sooner? There was no competition last night either; PBS could have creamed the broadcast networks with this.

    If they insist on airing it on Sundays, they should’ve at least moved it up to Jan. 5.

    I don’t watch Downton Abbey and its older audience is less likely to illegally download it, but its four-month delay is still completely insane as well, and it should also be aired day-and-date with the UK broadcast. They could also air its annual Xmas special on Xmas, as BBC America does with Doctor Who, and PBS would destroy the broadcast networks. Wake up, PBS, you’re asleep at the switch.

  • Alejandro

    Those complaining about having to wait a week or two… Try being in the UK and having to wait months, sometimes a year for your programme before whining.

  • JOE


    Now I must ask…what is it about these shows that make them so big? In this country we go bonkers over NCIS/BBT numbers around 20 million (which is huge) but our population is like 5 times that of England…to get a 33% share here wouldn’t that be like 100 million?

    Does UK TV have less channels than us?

  • Cory

    33% share is for households watching that program, not total UK population, I think cable isn’t big there, but even their ratings have been affected as well over the yrs, Only fools and horses and soaps would get 20 million viewers in 90s.

  • Little Miss Milly

    TV in the UK is so much more annoying because we don’t get hardly any episodes of a show. Miranda, which is the biggest comedy on TV at the minute and got 9.6 million (which is huge in the UK) only got 6 episodes and it’s now been a year and we still only get repeats. I wish british networks would adapt the way american networks air shows so we get 24 episodes of a comedy a year and not 6. :(

  • Adam

    “Audience” is misspelled in the headline.

  • CrimTV

    @Little Miss Milly

    I 100% agree, that’s why I almost only watch American shows, I know it should be quality over quantity but 22-24 episodes is so much better than 6 a year. One UK series only has 2 EPISODES per season!

  • Ali


    Sherlock is a BBC program. Downton Abbey airs on ITV so different networks so this sentence: “It also makes Sherlock the most-watched “holiday” program for the network, beating out holiday episodes of Doctor Who and Downton Abbey.” should say for any network.

  • Ali


    The UK does have far less channels yes but more importantly, far less UK produced shows as well.

  • Doug82

    The UK market is far less fragmented. The most popular channel (BBC1) still gets a 20% share of all viewing. ITV gets a further 15-20% share. Also cable channels generally don’t produce their own shows so overall the free to air channels have remained dominant.

  • Anthony

    WOW! 9 million viewers is huge for the UK! Not to shock that it surpass a holiday special of Doctor Who…

  • Brock


    The UK does not have far less channels, there are a lot of channels in the UK. What makes these shows get such big ratings is exactly to with the size of the UK, it’s a more densely populated space and far more united than the US especially with regards to media, this homogeneity is one reason along with the reason of course that there aren’t as many British produced shows as American shows.

  • CBSviewer

    @ Little Miss Milly and CrimTV

    It’s not only in the UK. In France Shows only get between 8-12 episodes per seasons.
    I think BBC and TF1 will NEVER order 22-24 episodes of a Show.

  • Jimmy

    So which is it?

    In this article it is mentiond ‘It also makes Sherlock the most-watched “holiday” program for the network’, with a link to a previous article with other holiday episode ratings for the BBC, where in that article it is mentiond mention ‘The highest rated Christmas program in England was an episode of the comedy Mrs. Brown’s Boys which scored 9.4 million viewers’.

    So dunno what kind of math the reporter used, but 9.4 for Mrs Brown’s Boys still beats a 9.3 for Sherlock.

  • Cory

    Article says Sherlock is most watched drama, not program.

  • Aron

    @Cory yeah I think it’s because XFactor a few years ago got 17million viewers for its finalie

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