Ratings round-up: Jimmy McGovern’s ‘Accused’ returns with 5.3m

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London 2012 proved to be a ratings nadir for ITV as it was soundly beaten by BBC Three for the first time and suffered the worst viewing figures in its history during the Games.

Wasting no time, the day after the closing ceremony on Monday 13th August, ITV1 launched Ruth Rendell’s Thirteen Steps Down, pulling in 4.3m (18.4%) viewers. This is a respectable figure for the new two-part drama, despite being beaten by Sharon’s latest return to EastEnders as the soap moved back to BBC One after its stint on BBC Two.

BBC Two clung to the feel-good factor of the Olympics with The Best of Men on Thursday 16th, starring Rob Brydon. 3.2m (14.4%) viewers watched the one-off drama about Dr Ludwig Guttmann (played here by Eddie Marsan), the founder of the Paralympics, whilst Vexed on Wednesday 15th continued to pull in a steady 1.2m (5%) viewers.

The most anticipated drama of the week, however, was the return of Jimmy McGovern’s Accused on BBC One. The first episode of Series 2, starring Sean Bean wonderfully cast against type as a transvestite, pulled in 5.3m (23.4%) viewers on Tuesday 14th, a staggering 2m more than watched the final episode of Series 1 in 2010.

On the same night as Accused’s return, BBC Three launched its new sitcom Bad Education. The station continued its run of good fortune as the show was watched by 830k (4.3%) people and became the highest rated first episode of a comedy on the channel ever.

Over on Channel 5 Once Upon a Time continues to perform well, impressively climbing to 1.01m (3.9%) on Sunday 12th. The station also saw the current season of CSI come to an end this week with 1.59m (6.8%) viewers but said ‘howdy’ to a new US import in the shape of Person of Interest, which drew 1.4m (7.8%) straight after.

Watch the trailer for Series 2 of Accused

All data was supplied by Attentional, Digital Spy and The Guardian.

What have you enjoyed on TV over the past week? Let us know below…

> Read more from Chris in his blog, Boyle’s Law.