TV Overnights: Latest drama in Weatherfield nets 7.5m for ITV1 but BBC secures 9pm slot

13 Sep 2012  |  Niall Johnson 

The battle for last night's biggest audience was won early in the evening as dependable soap Coronation Street secured Wednesday's victory for ITV1, with 7.5 million viewers tuning in to see the latest twist in the surrogacy drama. A few pints later and poor old Tina thought she has the answer to her and Tommy's financial issues: renting out her womb.

Maybe taking a peek at the jobs section in the Manchester Evening News might be a simpler idea instead? The episode, which went out at 7:30pm secured a 36% audience share.

Earlier, Emmerdale (7pm) performed well with 6.3 million viewers, while All Star Mr & Mrs (8pm) brought in 4.3 million viewers, resulting in a strong early evening for ITV1.

Over on BBC One at 8pm was the latest round of condescending nonsense from Watchdog featuring Anne Robinson and her two goons Matt Allwright and Chris Hollins. Tweaked with a sense of tabloid hysteria, the show still performed surprisingly well, sucking 4.8 million viewers into the vortex of stupidity.

Later at 9pm on ITV1, the rollicking adventures of Mrs Biggs continued. Mr Biggs only went on got himself mixed up in the Great Train Robbery, but at least the Mrs got a new washing machine out of it. The second episode of the sprawling drama pulled in the exact amount of viewers the first episode did last week; 3.9 million viewers (a 18% share) watched as Ronnie was sent down for 30 years.

At the same time on BBC One, comedian Hugh Dennis went rummaging through the trunk of dark family secrets for the latest episode of Who Do You Think You Are? Dennis was asking questions about his both his grandfather's experiences in the First World War, something neither of them ever talked about.

Turns out, there was a very good reason for that. 4.2 million viewers (almost the exact same that caught Annie Lennox's search last week) watched the comedian's face drop as he learned every gory detail, resulting in a 19% share.

Every new series of Grand Designs (Channel 4, 9pm) should be approached with a little trepidation. They'll have you sit through 50 minutes of grafting, budget issues, tears, sweat and pain, only for your patience to be rewarded by a tour of a grim, muddy building site at the end. Due to the very nature of the show (surely, even novices must know by now that every eccentric build will run over schedule and over budget), it's highly unlikely a new brand new episode will offer satisfaction in the form of a finished project.

That was certainly the case last night as series 12 kicked off with the regeneration of a lake side castle in Co. Roscommon, filmed right around the same time as the Celtic Tiger imploded. Things went from hopeful to grim quite quickly and the grand building was eventually shut down indefinitely but not before glimpses of the potential could be seen.

The first episode of the current run attracted an average audience of 2.4 million viewers (an 11% share), peaking to 2.6 at the end. Hopefully Kevin McCloud and his condescending wit will be around in fifty years for a Grand Designs Revisited. We can only hope the Irish economy will be sorted out by then.

Last night saw the return to our screens of serial woman-botherer and all round mess of a human being, Charlie Sheen. It might have been easy to confuse his brand new series Anger Management with Two & a Half Men as Sheen continued to play an unpleasant character named Charlie. Comedy Central offered up the first two episodes based on the 'hit' Jack Nicholson film from 2003. The first episode saw Charlie, a therapist (!!), seek help to control his anger.

306,000 viewers sat through the first episode at 9pm despite the fact that the all-encompassing laughter track was turned all the way up. The audience for the second episode fell to 270,000 viewers but both shows provided the channel's biggest audiences of the day.

John Ross and J.R.'s plans to steal Southfork away from Bobby continued last night as the second episode of the Dallas revival aired at 9pm on Channel 5. While J.R.'s son may have struck oil on the land, the show itself was down nearly 1 million viewers week on week. Not to worry Stetson fans, last night's episode which saw the legendary oil man cross paths with ex-wife Sue Ellen was watched by 1.8 million viewers (a 8% share).

Joining J.R., Kevin McCloud and Charlie Sheen for a Wednesday night TV return was Manchester's poet laureate Frank Gallagher. Shameless (Channel 4, 10pm) kick-started it's tenth series by throwing poor Frank into the UK's unsuspecting workforce. Overcome with panic attacks, the Gallagher patriarch struggled to wrap his head around becoming a productive member of society. 1.4 million viewers (a 9% share) tuned in to welcome back the North's dodgiest estate.

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

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