TV Overnights: The Paradise secures Tuesday night for BBC One

26 Sep 2012  |  Niall Johnson 

Tuesday saw the soaps rule the night, with EastEnders and Emmerdale given a little breathing space without the distraction of the needy and overbearing Coronation Street.

First up was a visit to Emmerdale at 7pm on ITV1 and whipping boy of the Dales, Ashley, was having another yet another bad day. The former vicar must be used to surprises after 16 years serving Yorkshire's most lively village but last night proved a bit much for him.

Sporting an adventure beard that would make Ian Beale jealous, Ashley learned that his family were moving in with another man. To add salt to the wound the other man was Marlon Dingle. That aspect alone must surely be enough to damage anyone's sense of self belief. 6.4 million viewers tuned in to see the pariah of Beckindale face another slap in the face, resulting in a 31% share.

Next up was another half an hour in sunny Walford on BBC One. EastEnders (7:30pm) dealt with yet another family dilemma as Syed's series of idiotic financial decisions was finally catching up with him. The grimy world of low-cost cleaning products can be a dangerous and confusing place. So much so Syed has been stealing from his family to cover his losses.

7.5 million viewers tuned in to see dad Masood confront his son, bringing in the evening's biggest audience. The episode, which saw Syed make another really ill-advised financial choice, secured an audience share of 34%.

The fact that nothing of particular interest happened in either of these episodes highlights viewers needs to dip into easily digestible heightened drama, no matter the current storyline.

Last week's episode unintentionally added blood into the successful mix of tears and yeast-based raising agents and as a result there was a last minute surprise when nobody was sent home. This meant that the seven remaining bakers had to step up their game yet another level, as last night brought a double elimination. First off, the weary POW were forced to recreate 'Mary Berry's hot and firm buns'.

Yep, it was a bun episode and the puns came thick and fast from Mel and Sue. The second task highlighted just how easy it is to completely destroy a round of potential doughnuts, with the pressure becoming too much for two bakers in particular. The seventh episode out of a run of 16 (hang on...there are only five contestants left?) of The Great British Bake Off (8pm) was up 7% week on week and attracted 4.3 million viewers (an audience share of 18%).

At the same time on BBC One was the ever dependable Holby City (8pm). Up slightly on last week's episode, Tuesday's slice of fluids and emotion attracted 4.7 million, a 20% share.

ITV1 and BBC One squared up against each other in the 9pm slot, both armed with an arsenal of new drama. The Paradise (9pm) was another excuse to make good use of the BBC's period wardrobe department. The drama, set in a large department store at the end of the 19th century, focused on a young country woman being seduced by consumerism, gossipy colleagues and a morally skewed handsome boss. The first episode in the six part drama pulled in 5.5 million viewers (a 23% share).

Which was enough to ward off the might of a new episode of Midsomer Murders on ITV1. A new visit to the country's dodgiest county is a rarer sight than the Blue-winged Teal these days. Series 15 of the detective drama premiered at the start of February on ITV1, yet its September and somehow we're only six episodes in.

Last night saw Barnaby and Jones steal a little of Lewis's thunder by poking their nose in the sexual activity of a dead academic. The latest grisly dealings in Midsomer pulled in 3.9 million (a 16% share), down significantly from the series début of 5.8 million in February.

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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