Line of Duty is the most watched drama of the 21st century with more than 15 million viewers for series 6 finale

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Line of Duty is now officially the most watched drama of the 21st century.

The hit BBC police procedural aired its series six finale earlier this month which saw record numbers of fans tuning in to discover the identity of H.

Latest official figures show that a massive 15.24 million viewers watched the last episode in a week, boosting it ahead of the previous record-holding 2000 episode of Heartbeat which attracted 15.16 million viewers.

Still just ahead of Jed Mercurio's police drama for viewers is A Touch of Frost, which drew in 15.83 million viewers for one episode in 1999.

The Line of Duty figures were made up of people who tuned in to the May 2 series finale as it aired, those who recorded it, and people who streamed it on BBC iPlayer over the week.

Overnight data showed that 12.8 million viewers tuned in for the final when it aired, making it the most-watched single episode of the programme.

Other record figures from recent years include 17.7 million viewers for The X Factor in 2010, 17.1 million for Gavin & Stacey in 2019, and 16.4 million for EastEnders in 2010.

The day after the episode aired, director of BBC television Charlotte Moore said: "Addictive event television, Line Of Duty has kept the nation guessing for the last seven weeks, so it’s no surprise that last night’s jaw-dropping finale set a ratings record.

"Jed Mercurio is a master of his craft, and I would like to congratulate him and the entire cast and crew for delivering such an incredible drama series. I’m looking forward to having a conversation with the team about where we go next and what the future of the series might be."

However, although Line of Duty's series six finale may have broken drama viewing records, it split opinion among fans.

Many people were disappointed to discover that "blundering fool" Ian Buckells was the criminal mastermind H who had been coordinating police corruption with the OCG.

Viewers complained that they felt let down by the ending, but with nothing yet confirmed over whether there could be a series seven still to come, the reveal may not be the final part of the story.

Chief Constable Philip Osborne and new AC-12 boss DCS Patricia Carmichael were still looking extremely shifty by the end of the episode with suspicions from Superintendent Ted Hastings, DI Steve Arnott and DI Kate Fleming that they could be involved in corruption.

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