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MR BATES VS THE POST OFFICE REACHES 9.2M ON ITV, BIGGEST PROGRAMME OF 2024 SO FAR

The first episode of ITV’s Mr Bates vs. the Post Office has been watched by 9.2m viewers, making it ITV's best new drama for three years since the Pembrokeshire Murders in January 2021 when the country was in lockdown.



The four episodes are the most watched programmes on any channel so far this year. The series, including the documentary, has reached 14.8m. On ITVX, the ITV Studios and Little Gem Media series has been streamed 12.3m times in just eight days.



For the year to date (1st-8th January 2024), ITVX has had 70.1m streams, its best ever start to the year and up on last year by more than a third (39%). ITV1 has also had its best start to the year for more than a decade with an all time share of 18.4% for the first eight days of the year.


For linear launch alone, Mr Bates vs. The Post Office was the most watched programme across all channels with 3.9m, beating The Tourist on BBC1 (2.2m), and retaining its live audience for four consecutive nights. 



Kevin Lygo, Managing Director, Media & Entertainment ITV said: “The unwavering success of Mr Bates vs. The Post Office demonstrates the undeniable power of TV, particularly public service broadcasting. 


“Aside from it being a ratings hit, dramatising the story with such a high calibre of British actors has reignited the campaign for justice nearly 25 years on, for a group of ordinary people - and the entire nation is behind them.”



Polly Hill, Head of Drama ITV said: “We commissioned this drama because it was a story that demanded to be told. Like everyone watching the show, I couldn’t believe what had happened. We all just wanted the drama to help get that story heard by as many people as we could. 


“We are all proud and overwhelmed by the power our drama has had. Alan, Jo, Lee, Jess and every sub-postmaster and sub-postmistress are being heard now, and it looks like they will finally get the justice they deserve. ITV is proud to have told this story and to support the subpostmasters.” 



Toby Jones plays Alan Bates while Monica Dolan, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Alex Jennings, Ian Hart, Lia Williams, Will Mellor, Clare Calbraith, Shaun Dooley, Amit Shah, Lesley Nicol, Adam James and Katherine Kelly are also in the cast.


Between 2000 and 2013, the Post Office held thousands of its own sub postmasters and postmistresses liable for financial discrepancies thrown up by Horizon, its hugely expensive but unreliable computerised accounting system.



Despite warnings that the system was flawed, the Post Office relentlessly pursued the sub postmasters and postmistresses, telling many of them that they were the only ones having problems with Horizon.


Of those affected by the faulty IT system, 736 were prosecuted and hundreds more lost livelihoods, homes and life savings because they paid back money that the Post Office claimed was missing.


Mr Bates Vs The Post Office is available to stream on ITVX now.





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