28/02/2017 15:46 GMT

‘Broadchurch’ Ratings: Series 3 Opener Earns ITV Their Highest Viewer Count For A Drama Since 2015

These numbers are seriously impressive.

The ratings are in following the return of ‘Broadchurch’ on Monday (27 February) night, and it’s officially brilliant news for ITV.

The series three opener won the channel an impressive 7.5 million viewers, giving them a 34% share of the audience watching TV at that time.

This figure is ITV’s biggest score for a drama episode since November 2015’s ‘Downton Abbey’ finale.

ITV Pictures
The episode saw the return of a series of main characters, alongside the introduction of newcomers including Sarah Parish and Julie Hesmondhalgh

The numbers do fall just short of those achieved by the ‘Broadchurch’ series two premiere in 2015, though, which landed the broadcaster 7.6 million viewers.

The opening instalment of series three was praised by critics and fans alike, with many making the early call for Julie Hesmondhalgh to receive nominations when ceremonies like the TV Baftas roll around later in the year.

The episode was also praised by Rape Crisis, who worked with the show’s team to ensure the rape case at the centre of it all is depicted appropriately and sensitively.

Writing in a blog published on The Huffington Post UK, the director of operations for the organisation’s South London branch explained how the series could “help rape survivors find their voices”, stating: “For survivors to see their own experiences reflected back to them can be a powerful thing, it can help them recognise that they are not alone in what they have lived through and continue to cope with.

“These TV shows can help survivors to find ways to speak about their experiences and access support, and can help society realise just how important it is to believe survivors, and to support them and be alongside them.”

Photo gallery Broadchurch Series 3 See Gallery