Brand-new Sky Original Production Jamestown has launched on Sky 1 with a consolidated audience of 1.69 million, making it the biggest series launch on the channel in the past 12 months.

The series, from the multi-award-winning makers of Downton Abbey, Carnival Films, premiered on Friday 5 May with an overnight audience of 618,000. In the week following, more than a million viewers have caught up on the first episode on demand and through their set-top box recordings.

1.69 million is more than four times the average audience size for programmes that air on Sky 1 in the same time slot as Jamestown.

And this doesn’t include the 300,000 viewers who have since watched a repeat of the first episode, or those who have seen the show through the Sky Go app or online streaming service NOW TV.

Adam MacDonald, director of Sky 1 and Sky Living, said: “We always felt that Jamestown had something very special about it, so it’s hugely gratifying to see Sky customers respond to the show in such large numbers.

“Already, more than a million viewers have returned to see episode two, and the numbers are still building as they watch the series in a way that suits them best.”

Jamestown has been described as“a finely mounted New World drama” by the Daily Mail, “a beautifully shot series with compelling storylines” by Prima Magazine and "packed with talented British actors" by The Telegraph.

The eight-part drama charts the early days of the first British settlers as they embark on new lives in America in 1619.

On what feels like the edge of the world sits the first British colony of Jamestown. For 12 years, it has been populated only by men, but the settlement is shaken up when the first women, including Alice (Sophie Rundle), Verity (Niamh Walsh) and Jocelyn (Naomi Battrick), land in its breathtaking wilderness. Twisting storylines follow the disruptive new arrivals as they make an immediate impact and are thrust into a new world of love, desire, power and survival.

The series is written by Bill Gallagher (Lark Rise to Candleford, The Paradise) and features an ensemble cast that also includes Max Beesley, Dean Lennox Kelly, Stuart Martin and Matt Stokoe.

Episode three of Jamestown will air on Friday 19 May at 9pm on Sky 1 and NOW TV, where episodes one and two are also currently available to watch on demand.