UKTV, the BBC Studios owned subscription and free to air network, has announced record viewing figures for the first quarter of the year with a 4.73% share of total viewing.
The figure is UKTV’s highest ever Q1 share and represents year-on-year growth of 8.6%. Its share of adults grew 8.6% y-o-y while 16-34s were up 10.1% and ABC1s 11.2%.
UKTV Originals including Mel Giedroyc: Unforgivable, Meet the Richardsons and Hypothetical helped the comedy entertainment channel Dave grow its share of 16-34s by 20% compared with the same period last year, as well as an overall increase in viewing share of 4%.
Drama, which recently launched a +1 channel on Freeview, saw its share grow 17% y-o-y and enjoyed its best month ever in March.
Death in Holy Orders, the feature-length murder-mystery thriller based on the PD James book, consolidated to 696k viewers, the channel’s second highest TX for a show ever and the most watched show on the channel for the year so far. Last Of The Summer Wine and Death in Paradise make up the other top shows on Drama for Q1 2021.
Alibi has also saw y-o-y growth (+16%) driven by S2 of the action-packed police series and international hit Hudson & Rex which averaged 548k viewers. Rosario Dawson-led drama series Briarpatch also proved popular with viewers, 516k viewers (Total Consumption) tuned in to the premiere of that in January.
UKTV Originals on factual channel Yesterday were the stars of Q1 and have taken the channel’s share up by 12% y-o-y.
Bangers and Cash S4 opened to 648k viewers making it the strongest launch for the Yorkshire-based observational documentary series and the second highest performing episode of any show on the channel to date (outperformed only by another episode of Bangers & Cash in 2020).
Secrets of the Transport Museum has become the second best brand-new S1 launch to date on the channel.
UKTV Original shows have also proved popular with viewers on Gold and W.
The Vicar of Dibley: Inside Out launched on 6th March on Gold to 577k viewers, the best performing retrospective since The Story of Only Fools and Horses in 2017. It also helped drive viewing figures for the original Vicar of Dibley archive which is the third highest rating show on the channel for the quarter.
On W, Emma Willis: Delivering Babies in 2020 has had one of the strongest 16-34 profiles for a UKTV commission on the channel with 66% of the show’s audience aged 16-34.
UKTV Play has enjoyed a 41% increase in direct-to-consumer views y-o-y in Q1 2021 driven by The Bill: The Early Years and Yesterday’s returning original series Bangers and Cash, the sixth most popular title on the service.
CEO Marcus Arthur said: “UKTV achieved record viewing in 2020 and I’m so pleased to see that momentum continuing into the first quarter of this year, driven by brilliant programming – be that our original shows, global acquisitions or viewer favourites from the BBC archive.
“Starting the year with a strong SOCI, viewing share, impressive ratings and more viewers than ever, particularly 16-34s, is evidence that our growth strategy is on the right trajectory.
“It is also testament to the hard work of colleagues across the business throughout a difficult year for many. As we enter and adapt to another period of change, everyone here at UKTV is focussed on continuing to deliver brilliant new shows for viewers to enjoy.”