The performance, which amounts to a 16.5 percent share of people watching TV in Britain at the time, is a strong one for the channel, which typically gets smaller audiences than the public broadcaster’s flagship network BBC One. But on Wednesday night in the 9 p.m. time slot, it outperformed Crimewatch on BBC One.
According to the BBC, the ratings make the show BBC Two‘s best-performing original drama series launch since Rome in 2005, which debuted with 6.6 million viewers.
Eric & Ernie, a TV film in 2011 about the early career of the British comic double-act Morecambe and Wise, drew 6.0 million, but it was a one-off, not a series.
The most-watched show in Britain in Wolf Hall‘s 9 p.m. time slot was ITV’s live broadcast of the National Television Awards, which attracted 6.6 million viewers during its 7:30 p.m.-10 p.m. time slot.
Lewis plays Henry VIII, while Rylance portrays Thomas Cromwell in the six-part series written by Oscar nominee Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy).
The miniseries charts the meteoric rise of Cromwell in the Tudor court, from his lowly start as a blacksmith’s son to Henry VIII’s closest advisor.
Jan. 22, 2:20 a.m. Updated with historical ratings comparisons.