TV Overnights: First day of Paralympics peaks at 2.8m

31 Aug 2012  |  Niall Johnson 

Thursday night's TV offered up a plethora of sports and soaps as the Paralympics finally got under way.

Day one was complemented by all-day coverage on Channel 4, starting with the Paralympic Games Breakfast Show at 7am. Live coverage continued all the way through to 10:30pm. During the day, it was swimming and judo at 5:30pm that brought in the biggest audience;1.7 million people watched the 45 minute show.

Naturally it was the evening show, Paralympic Games 2012 Tonight (7:30 pm), that garnered the most interest. The three hour show focused on the swimming, table tennis and wheelchair basketball; the latter seeing Great Britain narrowly beaten by Germany. An average audience of 2.4 million people watched the entire programme which finished at 10:30pm.

BBC One once again offered up an alternative to all the hope and triumph over on 4. Good Cop (9pm) followed in the footsteps of so many recent American dramas, offering up a morally ambiguous protagonist for the viewers to get involved with.

The drama was unflinching in its depiction of brutal and senseless acts of violence and focused on the unsubtly named John Paul Rocksavage; a Liverpudlian cop who was having a very bad day. Last night's shocking events forced 'Sav' to momentarily disregard awkward distractions like the law and take matters in to his own hands. The first episode in the four-part drama netted 4 million viewers, resulting in an 18% share.

Earlier on in the day the first episode of Thurday's Emmerdale (ITV1, 7pm) featured a classic overshare in the public surroundings of the Woolpack. News of Marlon and Laurel's alleged horizontal union was broadcast by Paddy to weary extras trying to enjoy a fake pint. Unfortunately Laurel's husband Ashley was also in attendance. The first helping of the country drama netted 5.9 million viewers and a 30% audience share.

A smaller crowd tuned in at 8:30pm to see downtrodden father-botherer Ashley deal with the news of his wife's new squeeze. The second episode of the night brought in 5.5 million viewers (a 25% share).

There was more athletics on offer over on BBC Two as the Diamond League meeting from 2012 Weltklasse Zürich (7pm) got under way. An average audience of 1.3 million viewers watched as Jamaica's Bolt and Blake continued to wow the crowds so soon after the Olympics.

EastEnders kicked off BBC One's evening of drama at 7:30pm and brought the channel the second biggest audience of the day. 6.3 million people tuned in to see wet blanket Anthony Moon sob his last as he made his grand exit from Hellmouth Walford, bringing in a 31% share.

There were plenty of teething problems still to sort out for the staff of Waterloo Road (BBC One, 8pm) as they settled in to their new Scottish location. The second episode of what must be at least the 20th series saw headmaster Michael Byrne deal with a possessed child and a vodka-fond English teacher. 3.3 million viewers (-9% week on week) tuned in to see the fun, netting a 14% share.

Despite a stormy showdown in the Rovers, Coronation Street (8:30pm) wasn't strong enough to fight off both sporting events and Waterloo Road, delivering a lower than usual audience for ITV1. A few strong words over a pint between Kevin and Tommy let loose a few home truths into the public consciousness of Weatherfield.

Kevin was not exactly pleased to learn that his garage was involved in an international drugs ring and pregnant Kirsty was justifiably ashamed when the punters learned she's been beating on her man. The communal squabbling secured a relatively small 6.4 million viewers and a 25% audience share. Could it be that viewers are simply exposed to too much soap goodness? In comparison, the previous episode on Monday brought in an audience of 7.8 million viewers. Although the show didn't perform as expected, it was still enough to bring Thursday's biggest audience to ITV1 despite the seasonal distractions elsewhere.

Overnight data is available each morning in's TV Database, with all BARB registered subscribers able to view reports for terrestrial networks and key multi-channel stations.

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