BBC1's gritty crime drama Luther returned for a four-part second series last night (reviewed here), attracting an impressive 5.6 million viewers (25.2% of the audience), which matched its premiere's numbers from last summer.
This is particularly good because Luther's first series lost viewers over its six-week run, so perhaps this is a sign audiences have changed their mind about the show? Or are people just willing to give it a second chance? It probably didn't hurt that there was no real competition in the 9pm hour, with Luther easily winning its timeslot against ITV1's Baby Hospital (2.62m), BBC2's The Country House Revealed (1.42m), Channel 4's The Fairy Jobmother (1.26m), and Channel 5's CSI (908k).
Considering the premiere's effective shock-ending, I expect next week's episode to retain the majority of those 5.6m viewers. Ratings tend to slip after much-publicized premiere, but it'll be interesting to see what happens. The number may stabilize, if those catching up on iPlayer this week are inspired to watch episode 2 live next Tuesday. It's not like there are adverts to escape, is it.
If Luther maintains this level of ratings success, I suspect the BBC will soon be asking Idris Elba to return for a third series—provided he can fit it into his busy schedule! The actor's currently in contention to star in Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim movie, amongst other things. It helps that, by all accounts, Elba seems to like mixing American work with British, so I hope he'll make himself available. I'd be happy with occasional feature-length specials, if all else fails.