The writer of ITV’s Victoria has said it’s “demoralising” to go up against Line of Duty in the TV schedules.
The dramas have gone head-to-head at 21:00 on Sunday for two weeks, but the BBC show has come out on top so far.
Scheduling is a “dark art” practiced by “Machiavellian types”, Daisy Goodwin wrote in Radio Times magazine.
Victoria’s third season premiered in the US before its recent UK debut, and Goodwin said she hoped the fourth would go out simultaneously around the world.
She told Radio Times the staggered release felt “analogue”, urging broadcasters to echo streaming services with “a truly global shared experience”.
Her show, which traces the life of Queen Victoria, has lost out in the overnight ratings to Line of Duty since the fifth series of the BBC police drama began on 31 March.
The opening episode of Line of Duty pulled in an average of 7.8 million viewers, compared with 3.1 million for Victoria.
On 7 April, Line of Duty dropped slightly to 7.1 million, but was still significantly ahead of Victoria’s 3.0 million audience.
Goodwin said: “It’s a dark art, scheduling, and it can be very demoralising for people who have dedicated themselves to making something special to realise that for the scheduler your carefully-honed drama is nothing more than a line of sandbags against Bodyguard 2 or, in Victoria’s case, Line of Duty.”
Goodwin’s comments come as the divide between traditional and digital release schedules has come under the spotlight in recent weeks.
The second series of BBC hit Killing Eve has already begun in the US on BBC America – a subscription television network jointly owned by BBC Studios and AMC – but a date for the UK premiere is yet to be announced.
This contrasts with release strategies in which entire series are released in full around the world on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Goodwin said that while she understood that “die-hard” fans of her ITV show may have already streamed the complete series online in the UK “in ways that are quite possibly illegal”, she hoped many would still watch in the “old-fashioned way”.
“In these days of the box-set binge, where you can emerge bleary-eyed, wondering where the last six hours went, I rather love a dainty morsel of television that leaves you wanting more,” she said.
Goodwin also revealed that the next series of Victoria – starring Jenna Coleman – is already in production and will be “the darkest yet”.
The writer said she hopes “the gods of scheduling look favourably upon it and decide to put it out simultaneously with the US broadcast”.