Northern Ireland news

Line of Duty season finale biggest show of the year so far - watched by more than nine million viewers

The conclusion to the BBC One drama Line of Duty attracted an average audience of 9.1 million

THE season finale of Line of Duty was the biggest show of the year so far - watched by more than nine million viewers.

The conclusion to the BBC One police corruption drama attracted an average audience of 9.1 million, a 44.1 per cent share, with a peak of 9.6 million viewers on Sunday night.

It makes the drama, based on the activities of police anti-corruption unit AC-12, the most popular programme of 2019 so far, based on overnight figures.

The figures are also the highest for a drama since Bodyguard, also created by Jed Mercurio.

The BBC said it was "the biggest overnight rating for the series ever and the most watched show of the night across all channels, as well the biggest overnight rating of the year so far".

It said Sunday night's Line Of Duty, starring Vicky McClure, Martin Compston, Adrian Dunbar and Anna Maxwell Martin, was "the biggest overnight rating for the series ever".

Figures are expected to grow once consolidated numbers - programmes recorded and watched up to seven days later - are taken into account.

The drama, originally aired on BBC Two, has already been commissioned for a sixth series.

BBC director of content, Charlotte Moore, said: "Over the past six weeks, Line of Duty has kept the whole nation on the edge of their seats, so it was fantastic to see such a big audience for Sunday's finale.

"I'd like to thank all the cast, Jed Mercurio … and the whole team at World Productions for delivering such a fantastic series."

The final episode was also dedicated to Co Down man, Graeme Livingstone, who had worked as a crew member on Line of Duty.

The 29-year-old from Bangor died in June 2017 after his motorcycle was involved in a collision in Lisburn.

He was well-known in the TV and film business in Northern Ireland and had also worked on Game of Thrones and The Fall

Ahead of the broadcast of Line of Duty on Sunday, Martin Compston, who plays Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott, had urged viewers to stayed tuned at the end of the episode.

"Hey folks hopefully if your jaws are back up from the floor in time, there's a little something at the very end of the show which means a lot to the whole Line of Duty family, much appreciated if you could stay tuned for it," he wrote on Twitter.

He later shared a screenshot of the tribute 'In Memory of Graeme Livingstone 1987-2017' and added: "Behind every good cast there's a phenomenal crew.

"To make this show really is a team effort. One important face missing from that top picture though. Graeme Livingstone gone but never forgotten, not just to us but the industry across Northern Ireland."

Co-star Vicky McClure, who plays Detective Inspector Kate Fleming, added: "Graeme who worked in our props dept will always be in our hearts, we miss him dearly".

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