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Roadkill pulls in big audience as fans hooked by Hugh Laurie thriller

Hugh Laurie in Roadkill - how to watch Roadkill online
(Image credit: BBC/The Forge/Robert Viglasky/Matt Burlem)

Roadkill pulled in 5.1 million viewers

Roadkill, starring Hugh Laurie (opens in new tab), attracted a big audience on Sunday night as viewers quickly became hooked on the new David Hare penned thriller.

The six-part drama, which sees Laurie play charismatic politician Peter Laurence, pulled in just over five million viewers.

But Roadkill isn’t BBC1’s biggest drama opening of the year - that honour, Broadcast reports (opens in new tab), is held by the first episode of The Salisbury Poisonings (opens in new tab) which pulled in a remarkable 7.2 million viewers back in June.

Teasing Roadkill, Hugh says: “Roadkill is a political drama about the price of success in the political realm and what it demands of the people who do it, and those around the person who does it. It’s pretty unforgiving.”

The Salisbury Poisonings

The Salisbury Poisonings attracted a very big audience for its opening episode

Roadkill capped off what was a great weekend ratings wise for the BBC. The highlight undoubtedly was the return of Strictly Come Dancing.

Strictly fans were clearly desperate for the new series to kick off as a massive audience tuned in on Saturday night.

An impressive 8.6 million viewers - topping last year’s figure - settled down to enjoy the Strictly Come Dancing 2020 (opens in new tab) launch show.

Tess and Claudia Strictly

There were lots of changes for the launch show, but fans still loved it

The start of the series had been delayed from its normal start slot as the BBC has reduced the number of episodes due to the coronavirus crisis.

And clearly that meant viewers were that extra bit keen to finally see the celebrities paired up with their professional dancers.

The Beeb will no doubt be hoping for more bumper ratings as both Strictly and Roadkill continue this weekend (see our TV guide for more shows to enjoy).

Strictly continues on Saturday evening at 7.25pm, while the second episode of Roadkill is on at 9pm on Sunday. All episodes of the six-parter are now on iPlayer.

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.


Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 


David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.


Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!