Line of Duty is revealed as the BBC iPlayer's biggest show of 2021

Line of Duty is revealed as BBC iPlayer’s most-watched show of 2021 beating Silent Witness and the Tokyo Olympics – after its sixth series was streamed 137 MILLION times

Line of Duty has been revealed as BBC iPlayer’s most-watched series of this year.

The police crime drama, penned by Jed Mercurio, has beaten the likes of Euro 2020, Silent Witness and the Tokyo Olympic Games. 

It comes as fans eagerly hope that Line Of Duty will return for a seventh series, following its divisive finale earlier this year. 

Top spot! Line of Duty has been revealed as the BBC iPlayer’s biggest show of 2021…beating Silent Witness and the Tokyo Olympic Games to the top spot in figure released by the BBC

Figures released by the BBC revealed that the first episode of the sixth installment was streamed 9.2 million times and the box set being viewed 137 million times overall.    

Despite the season finale that left fans divided, 15.9 million viewers tuned in the find out the true identity of ‘H’, with that episode becoming iPlayer’s most popular this year 

Other top ranking shows included the Olympics in second place at 90.2 million, Pretty Little Liars with 79.9 million, Euro 2020 at 68.2 million and Silent Witness with 62.3 million. 

Wow! Figures released by the BBC revealed that the first episode of the sixth installment was streamed 9.2 million times and the box set being viewed 137 million times

Disappointed? Despite the season finale that left fans divided, 15.9 million viewers tuned in the find out the true identity of ‘H’, which was iPlayer’s most popular episode (Line Of Duty stars Vicky McClure, Martin Compston and Adrian Dunbar pictured in show still) 

Elsewhere, the most-streamed episodes were revealed as being Vigil, Series 1 – episode 1 in second place at 8 million, Time, Series 1, episode 1 with 7.3 million, The Serpent, Series 1, episode 1, at 6.3 million and the Euro 2020, Final, Italy v England with 6 million streams on the platform.  

Line Of Duty finale: How the TV viewing figures compare 


Line Of Duty finale, May 2 (BBC One) 12.8 million

Prince Philip’s funeral, April 17 (ITV & BBC One) 13.6 million 

Harry and Meghan with Oprah Winfrey, March 8 (ITV) 11.7 million 


Boris Johnson lockdown announcement, March 23 (BBC One) 14.5 million

Queen’s address to the nation, April 5 (BBC One) 14 million

Boris Johnson’s second address to the nation, May 10 (BBC One) 18.7 million

I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!, November 15 (ITV) 12.1 million


Gavin And Stacey Christmas special (BBC One) 17.1 million viewers  


Closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games (BBC One) 24.5 million


The X Factor (ITV) 17.7 million


Princess Diana interview with Martin Bashir (BBC One) 23 million


The 1966 World Cup final (BBC and ITV joint broadcast) 32.3 million viewers


In October, Line of Duty was reportedly renewed for a seventh series as source told The Daily Star: ‘Another series is happening. This is the news millions of fans have been hoping for.’  

It’s thought that details including storylines and filming dates are yet to be finalised, with the source adding: ‘A lot of stuff still needs to be agreed and it is likely to take a while. Fans will probably have to wait a few years before it airs on TV.’

MailOnline contacted representatives for BBC for comment at the time.

It comes after fans called for a seventh series after being left ‘disappointed’ by the finale of series six in May, despite creator Jed Mercurio furiously defending the show.   

Taking to Twitter. the writer, 55, responded to critics in an impassioned post and said that it is ‘impossible’ to satisfy all viewers’ expectations.

An eye-watering 12.8million viewers tuned in to watch Line Of Duty’s sixth season conclude on Sunday night with a 56.2% share – recording the network’s highest ever overnight rating, yet some disappointed fans were left with unanswered questions. 

Responding to the fan backlash over the finale, Jed admitted that the episode ‘divided social media opinion’ yet he found a ‘a far less extreme picture’ when taking in the audience research.

He tweeted: ‘1. No one disputes the Line of Duty finale divided social media opinion but the audience research so far shows a far less extreme picture. 

‘We knew a ‘down’ ending would rate less favourably with some viewers, however all 7 episodes varied by under 10% on average viewer score…’

Jed continued: ‘2. The research determines the episode ratings based on randomly polling viewers, rather than sites like imdb where scores can be skewed by users strongly motivated to register their immediate anger/adulation … 

‘3. 1000 random viewers submitted scores from 1-10 which have been used to calculate the Appreciation Index (AI) as a score out of 100. The AI for the ‘down’ finale was only 7 points below the next lowest in Season 6 (Ep 1) …’ 

Jed concluded with: ‘4/4 These figures won’t stop the debate, of course, nor should they – that’s still all part of the experience of shared TV viewing. Thanks again for watching.’

Hitting back: It comes after the show’s creator Jed Mercurio continued to defend the BBC police drama after droves of fans slammed the ‘disappointing’ series six finale (pictured 2019)

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