BBC's 'Musketeers' Debuts With 7.4 Million Viewers

Call the Midwife - H 2013

Call the Midwife - H 2013

The public broadcaster also attracts the biggest U.K. weekend audience with a record-setting season debut of "Call the Midwife," while ITV's Jeremy Piven drama "Mr. Selfridge" returns with weaker ratings.

LONDON – The BBC on Sunday night drew an average audience of 7.4 million with the launch of The Musketeers, the latest spin on the Alexandre Dumas drama.

The series stars new Doctor Who lead Peter Capaldi as Cardinal Richelieu. Luke Pasqualiano, Santiago Cabrera, Tom Burke, Howard Charles and Hugo Speer also star.

The drama is a co-production with BBC America, which is set to air it later in the year.

The BBC on Sunday also recorded the biggest weekend audience in Britain with the third-season launch of period medical drama Call the Midwife, which drew an average 9.6 million, a record for the show.

Meanwhile, ITV on Sunday night featured the season two premiere of Mr. Selfridge, starring Jeremy Piven as the department store magnate.

The show, which has sold across the world and aired in the same time slot as Musketeers, reached an average audience of nearly 5.3 million, down by about 2 million from the opening episode of season one.

Twitter: @georgszalai