The Wrong Mans gets BBC Two's biggest comedy audience of 2013

Wednesday 25th September 2013, 2:28pm

The Wrong Mans. Image shows from L to R: Sam (Mathew Baynton), Phil (James Corden). Copyright: BBC / Hulu.New comedy-thriller The Wrong Mans premiered last night to an audience of 3.1 million viewers.

The early estimated figure - known as 'overnights' - includes both HD and SD variants of BBC Two, where the opening episode of the new half-hour sitcom broadcast from 9pm. The figure equates to a 13.5% share of the total television audience in the country during that timeslot.

The figure represents an increase of more than one million viewers of the normal average audience for the slot, and the BBC confirms that it was the channel's highest rated comedy launch since Ricky Gervais introduced Extras in 2005.

Created, written by and starring Mathew Baynton (Horrible Histories) and James Corden (Gavin & Stacey), the sitcom-cum-thriller follows the mishaps of a pair of employees at Berkshire County Council.

After witnessing a horrendous car-crash on an otherwise deserted country road, Sam (Baynton) discovers an abandoned, ringing mobile phone. Answering, he is mistaken for the owner, whose wife has been kidnapped. Reluctantly teaming up with office loner Phil (Corden), the pair set out to save the woman and quickly find themselves embroiled in a deadly criminal conspiracy.

Posting on micro-blogging service Twitter this morning, Corden told fans: "Thank you so much for your incredible messages about The Wrong Mans. Thrilled you liked it, stick with it, it gets bigger and better".

Critical reception to the opening episode of the six-part series has been warm, if not outright positive. Metro newspaper critic Keith Watson described the comedy as "a winning combination" that "left me wanting more", whilst Sam Wollaston wrote in The Guardian that "I'm not convinced by a comedy/thriller that isn't doing it for me as either". Sarah Dobbs of website Den of Geek called it "a pretty great first episode".

The following online video extra sees the duo's office colleague Noel (Tom Basden) compiling a dossier of Sam's failings in the workplace:

Here is a trailer for the series:

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