Mr Bates vs The Post Office hits 13.5m

Mr Bates vs The Post Office hits 13.5m
Mr Bates vs the Post Office

ITV’s drama about the Post Office IT scandal has averaged a total of 13.5m viewers across its four episodes after 28 days.

Starting the year with a bang, the ITV Studios and Little Gem co-pro Mr Bates vs The Post Office kicked off on New Year’s Day with an overnight audience of 3.6m (22.7%), smashing the 2.6m (18.3%) slot average, but has since grown exponentially after the scandal gripped public attention.

The opening episode has now been watched by 11.6m, with a whopping 40.7% share according to Barb data from According to ITV, this rises to 13.5m for its first episode when viewing on all devices is factored in.

The most-watched ep was the finale, which averaged 13.8m viewers, and the drama series has accrued 22.4m streams on the ITVX platform.

This means that ITV’s drama has already surpassed 2023’s most viewed drama of the year after 28 days: BBC1’s much anticipated third series of Happy Valley, which averaged 11.9m across its six episodes.

Last year, the BBC dominated the tables for most-watched dramas after 28 days, with Death in Paradise also landing in the top 10 most watched shows of the year, averaging 8.3m.

2024 has begun strongly for traditional broadcasters in terms of viewing. On BBC1, some 5.5m overnight viewers tuned into the finale of the second series of entertainment format The Traitors, peaking at 6.9m live viewers, while the same channel’s revival of Gladiators also reached 6m overnight for its launch episode, consolidating to 8.7m over seven days.

Speaking to Broadcast, ITV’s director of television Kevin Lygo directly referenced the impact of Mr Bates vs The Post Office when indicating what makes a hit show in 2024, and added: “The traditional overnights can still be a very good indication of a hit sometimes, but they are no longer the end of the story anymore.”

Mr Bates v the Post Office told the true story of how postmasters were wrongly accused of theft and fraud. It left the public aghast and lead prime minister Rishi Sunak to condemn the scandal as “an appalling miscarriage of justice.”

1.2m people signed a petition calling for Paula Vennells to return her CBE with immediate effect, which she subsequently did.

This articvle first appeared on our sister site, Broadcast. 

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