New figures show that The Empty Hearse piled on an extra 3.5 million viewers who watched the show within seven days of broadcast after recording it or using time-shift viewing.
The new totals are revealed in “consolidated” figures which combine the audience on the night it was broadcast with the numbers who watched in the following week. They reveal that the edition of Sherlock has succeeded the Christmas 2011 edition of ITV’s Downton Abbey – with 3.2 million – as the biggest time-shift success.
Sherlock’s figures – a combined 12.7 million – do not even include those who have watched the programme on the BBC’s own iPlayer service.
Charlotte Moore, the controller of BBC1, said: “I’m very proud to have Sherlock on BBC1 and see it topping the charts as the biggest consolidated audience ever. It demonstrates that ambition and quality matter to our audience.”
Producer Sue Vertue, the wife of writer Steven Moffat, said: “When we began Sherlock, and it was an instant hit, we thought it couldn’t get better. But each series has outdone the last and this is our biggest rating yet. Trying to believe this is really happening is a job in itself.”
Even though I have personally had some issues with the direction of this new series, I am still a fan and delighted that a show I have so much affection for has smashed the records like this.
I’ve seen the trailer for His Last Vow and it looks great. I hope that the final episode will bring together both the personal elements and a fantastic edge-of-your-seat adventure. This will be the perfect combination for me. I think this has been my problem really – I have enjoyed watching the relationship between John and Sherlock be explored in such depth but think it should of come out as part of an adventure, not be the adventure itself. For example, the moment in the canon when we really see Holmes’ true feelings for Watson is when he is shot in the Three Garridebs. And somehow it almost seems more poignant, sort-of unexpected. When someone is doing a best-man speech you expect them to say warm-hearted things – even Sherlock.
Charles Augustus Milverton is my favourite villain from Conan Doyle’s stories so I am especially excited about this episode in which Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and John (Martin Freeman) do battle with new villain Charles Augustus Magnussen -played by Danish actor Lars Mikkelsen.
Robert Hardy’s Milverton in the Granada episode (The Master Blackmailer) was pretty spot-on for me so it’s a hard act to follow. But I’m confident the team will deliver something really fantastic.