Can RTÉ ever kill off ‘Love/Hate’?

Final episode breaks 1 million barrier even before playback views are counted

Peter Coonan as Fran in the final episode of ‘Love/Hate’ Series 5

Peter Coonan as Fran in the final episode of ‘Love/Hate’ Series 5


How long can Love/Hate go on? A sixth series of the RTÉ One drama is already in development - though not officially green-lit - but was flagged earlier this year by creator Stuart Carolan as potentially being its last hurrah. The bumper audiences secured by the just-concluded run suggests that whenever the end does come, it will be painful: the show remains phenomenally popular.

The ratings for the fifth series, a combination of those who watched live and people counted as ‘viewed-on-same- day-as-live’ (Vosdal), have been even more astonishing than some of the plotlines.

The first three episodes secured average audiences of 976,000, 852,000 and 879,000 respectively. A fourth-episode dip to 769,000 on the bank holiday weekend did little permanent damage, with the audience shooting back to 962,000 for the fifth episode. The series finale attracted a whopping 1,005,400.

With the exception of episode four, which came close with an audience share of 48 per cent, all episodes were watched by more than half of the people watching television at the time. On a share basis, the ratings have been higher for each episode than they were last year.

The consolidated ratings, which include time-shifted playback viewing within seven days of the original broadcast, have also been healthy, adding between 112,000 and 123,000 viewers to the tally for the first three episodes.

Whatever it was that a chunk of the audience was doing on the bank holiday weekend that they resisted watching Love/Hate, they remembered to catch up with Nidge and co’s fourth episode – with 218,000 viewers added on playback.