VIEWERS of the second series of Grace have questioned why it was allowed to air before the watershed.

Following the release of the ITV crime drama, the audience were quick to take to social media to express their views on the opening scenes.

The episode, which aired at 8pm on Sunday, featured an opening scene depicting sexual violence.

Grace, set in Brighton, is an adaption of Sussex author Peter James’s international bestselling books, which have sold 21 million copies worldwide.

While some fans were thrilled to see the return of Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, played by John Simm, others believed the programme should have aired after the watershed.

The watershed begins at 9pm. According to Ofcom, material unsuitable for children should not be shown before 9pm or after 5.30am.

In the newly release episode, Roy Grace is called to a crime scene following the death of a man found hanging in fetish gear.

One viewer tweeted: “Man hanging from the rafters in a g**p costume is a far cry from Last of the Summer Wine on a pre-watershed Sunday night.”

Another added: “An episode of Grace was shown on ITV tonight at 8pm. It was about an evil gang making snuff movies with lots of graphic scenes of violence. What happened to the watershed?”

Actress Stacey Guthrie also weighed in, saying: “Ummmm... not sure Grace is suitable pre-watershed fare ITV. Fetish, drugs. Oh yeah, and a hanged body. Sex games gone wrong? At 8pm on a Sunday.”

However, not all viewers felt the same.

One fan tweeted: “For all those moaning at the content of Grace, there were warnings given by ITV before it started. Just use the red button if you’re getting too scared.”

Another added: “If you go on #Grace right now, you will see just how many Karens there are in the UK. Jesus, it is hardly explicit content. Stop moaning about the watershed.”

An ITV spokesman said: "Grace is a dark thriller set in Brighton and follows the format of other ITV feature-length crime dramas.

"All our dramas in the 8pm to 10pm slot are subject to very careful consideration to ensure the content is suitable for a pre-watershed audience.

"There was a clear pre-transmission announcement to highlight to viewers the nature of the drama."

Comprised of four feature-length films, Grace will next air on Sunday, May 1, at 8pm.