TV Overnights: New Tricks beats Monroe to secure primetime slot for BBC One

09 Oct 2012  |  Niall Johnson 

Monday night saw Nigella back in her giant purpose-built kitchen at 8:30pm on BBC Two, whipping up a flurry of Italian delights that made her paid extras gasp in an astonished manner.

Spoon licking fans, beware - Nigellissima (still not embracing that title) passed the half way mark last night. And to celebrate we were treated to doughnuts (Italian points: 0), spelt spaghetti and the horror of mock mash...made with semolina. You should never trick people in to thinking semolina is potato. Ever. 2 million viewers caught up with the latest bout of intimate gastronomic magic, netting a 8.3% share.

Speaking of looks opening doors for people, Wonderland kicked off a new series with I Was Once a Beauty Queen, a surprisingly non-judgemental look at former UK beauty pageant winners. Back in the day this was quiet a big deal, a one way ticket to a glamorous lifestyle and if the ladies played their cards right the world was their oyster. Such is life though, the now middle-aged ladies had plenty of cautionary tales to share, falling out of public favour when the essential girl-next-door and sultry-siren balance didn't quite stabilise.

Each of the participant's lives took wildly different turns; one married a rock star only to inherit his £6 million debt when he died, one ran away with a footballer only to come back and spend the rest of her life with her 'normal' partner, while another briefly became a Bond girl but has since regressed to her teenage years. And, yes - one of them still had it all.

Despite their varying existence they all remained confident and level headed about their experiences, remaining surprisingly strong minded. Let's not mention Tracy Dodds' tragic spray-painted mini-me daughter though, fated to a life of reliving her mother's choice decisions. 1.3 million viewers (a 5.5% share) tuned in to the powerful documentary which gave us glimpses of self-awareness and delusion in equal measures.

The 9pm slot was a stand-off between the glamorous Monroe on ITV1, people doing worthy and highly unglamorous work on Channel 4 and the ever dependable elderly detectives on BBC One.

The second episode of the second series of Monroe saw the talented and misunderstood doctor facing the biggest challenge of his career. Again. Last night's action saw viewers dip slightly week on week but still managed around 3 million viewers, with a 13% audience share tuning in for James Nesbitt being clever in comedy glasses.

Over on Channel 4 Blackpool's emergency service was in for yet another rough night of human silliness. The fourth episode of 999: What's Your Emergency? saw the crew deal with the usual array of domestic 'incidents' and drunken idiocy - from the initial phone call to the inevitable confrontation. The programme brought in Channel 4's biggest audience of the night with 2 million viewers (an 8% share) along for the ride.

But it was left to the timeworn Scooby Gang on BBC One to secure the coveted 9pm slot. The ninth series of New Tricks continued to pull in the crowds, with 7 million people watching the UCOS team investigate the death of a promising poet who was set on fire (a bit harsh). The episode captured a 30% share.

Earlier on in the evening, the soaps did their usual trick of gathering the largest pre-9pm audiences. EastEnders (BBC One, 8pm) saw Lola's week get off to a great start. Not only did she have to accept the fact that her baby had been taken away from her but she had to convince Phil Mitchell that the father is his murderous son Ben. The latter revelation would actually make you feel sorry for the girl, if she wasn't a character in EastEnders. 7.6 million viewers watched the fun play out, bringing in BBC One's biggest audience of the day.

Which meant, as usual, the northern drama of Coronation Street garnered the biggest crowd of Monday night. The first episode at 7:30pm saw Rita and Deirdre going undercover to reveal Ken's mysterious woman. 8.6 million (a 38% share) people tuned in to see Deirdre realise that old love rival Wendy Crozier is back on the scene.

You'd really think Deirdre would be used to these dramatic reveals at this stage of the game and behave in a less mental manner. The second episode an hour later saw Maria and Marcus deal with their big old snog on Friday, with 8.5 million viewers watching.

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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