New sitcom Hold The Sunset debuted last night with more than 6 million viewers.
Broadcast in the 7:30pm slot vacated by Still Open All Hours after the end of its fourth series last week, the first episode of the new comedy achieved an audience peak of 7.2 million, averaging at 6.21 million over the full half hour.
The overnight ratings place it as the 37th most-watched programme in its timeslot over the last 52 weeks, with a 29.1% audience share.
Written by Charles McKeown, the comedy follows widow Edith (Steadman) and similarly single Phil (Cleese). Youth sweethearts, they are now neighbours and find their romance being rekindled in old age. Just as they decide to formalise their relationship and begin a new life together, Edith’s middle-aged son, Roger (Watkins), turns up at the house, wanting to move back in and recapture his youth. Undergoing a mid-life crisis of sorts and having left both his job and own family, his presence immediately upsets Edith and Phil’s plans – much to the frustration of both parties.
Viewing figures for the opening episode place the comedy higher than the launch of Peter Kay’s Car Share in 2015 (5.68 million), and in recent times only bettered by the original Still Open All Hours special, which attracted more than 12 million viewers on Boxing Day 2013.
Shane Allen, Controller Comedy Commissioning says: “This is a superb launch for a show that is awash with comedy acting royalty and cements the BBC’s unique ongoing commitment to delivering mainstream popular comedy on BBC One.”
The series will be released on DVD in March.
For updates, click the button below.