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Sheridan Smith drama Cleaning Up gets SURPRISE viewing figures

Sheridan Smith in Cleaning Up
(Image credit: ITV)

Cleaning Up sweeps up six million fans

Sheridan Smith stormed back onto the box last night with huge viewing figures for her new ITV drama Cleaning Up.

The opening episode attracted an impressive six million viewers, which meant it comfortably saw off the BBC’s long-running forensic drama, Silent Witness, which pulled in a respectable 4.3 million, according to Broadcast.

Silent Witness Emilia Fox 2019

Silent Witness attracted over four million fans

Sheridan plays office cleaner Sam, who’s struggling with serious gambling debts and sees a way out when she leaps into the murky world of insider trading.

The six-parter already looks like being one of the biggest dramas of the year, with Sheridan Smith once again highlighting that she can draw big numbers.

Cleaning Up, though, didn’t quite match the ratings she got for arguably her biggest show to date, Cilla, which saw her play the legendary star. Cilla's first episode was watched by 6.7 million viewers.

Talking about her character in Cleaning Up, Sheridan told us: “Sam’s a single mum, she’s a great mum but she’s struggling. She’s working as a cleaner on a zero-hours’ contract trying to make money but she’s got a gambling addiction and is massively in debt.

“She’s a very flawed person, which I think viewers will relate to. It’s interesting to play someone who’s that flawed but who still has a good heart.”

Sheridan, who was also seen recently in the BBC drama Care opposite Alison Steadman, added that she was happy to be back on telly: ““Oh, I’m SO pleased to be back. I do enjoy doing theatre work and making music [Sheridan’s second album, A Northern Soul, was released in November 2018] but it’s good to be back doing this again. I love filming. I love the camaraderie on set; everyone on this shoot is at the top of their game. It’s been a joy to come to work every day.”

Cleaning up continues on ITV.