Merlin "Arthur's Bane (Part 1)" Overnight Ratings

The overnight ratings for Merlin series five ’s premiere episode, “Arthur’s Bane (Part 1)” are in…

According to official ratings figures, 5.49* million million people tuned in to watch Merlin “Arthur's Bane (Part 1) on Saturday night. That’s slightly up on last year’s premiere, which was 5.23 million for “The Darkest Hour (Part 1)". It’ also interesting to note that "The Darkest Hour (Part 2)” actually added viewers (5.54 million); will “Arthur’s Bane (Part 2)” replicate this feat?

Final consolidated ratings last year usually saw around 1.2 million to 1.4 million viewers through time shift. Will series 5 see a similar pattern?

It was the third most popular of the night after X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing – which one of those came first and which came second is the subject of a dull argument raging between rival factions of fans, based on whether you should include X-Factor ’s +1 figures.

* Update: The BBC is claiming 6 million for Merlin : the difference may be explained by the fact that Strictly overran, and the BBC may be looking at figures based on the original timeslots, but that’s supposition at the moment. More news as we get it. Either way, the Merlin premiere has done better than last year’s.