TV Overnights: The Plane Crash helps C4 contend with the big boys

12 Oct 2012  |  Niall Johnson 

Hunted (BBC One, 9pm), the spy series with lots of running, kicking and double crossing, continued with aggressive self-confidence last night as Melissa George's Samantha had the relatively stressful task of hunting down and killing a colleague.

Things got a little more complicated when said colleague informed Sam that he has the identity of another colleague that has attempted to kill Sam and her unborn child a number of years previously.

Still following? Doesn't matter really; the plot banged along at a decent pace and the locations and cinematography give the series an expensive feel and epic scope. Unfortunately, the second episode dealing with the adventures of Mrs Bourne-lite had to contend with real-life explosions over on Channel 4 and was down 23% week on week. Hunted attracted 3.4 million viewers, resulting in a 15% share.

Acrophobics and aerophobics look away now - the other options in the 9pm slot were not for the faint of heart. Channel 4's offering was The Plane Crash, a documentary that does exactly what it says on the tin - a factual look at an attempt by scientists and engineers to purposefully crash a Boeing 727 straight in to the Mexican desert.

Naturally, this was all to aid air safety but there was also the added benefit of knowing there would be a huge explosion at one point. The real tension came as the pilots had to make their grand escape when the plane's route was locked in.

For someone that has a fear of flying there must be no worse sight than seeing your three pilots jettison out of the plane - luckily the craft was full of crash test dummies, all of which were being monitored closely. The grand experiment proved a huge success for Channel 4, with 3.1 million viewers (a 15% share) tuning in, narrowly missing out to BBC One.

Meanwhile, BBC 4 aired the BAFTA winning film Man on Wire - a nerve racking documentary looking at a guerrilla stunt pulled off by a French performance artiste in 1974. Philippe Petit and his team broke into one of the world trade centre towers and attempted to tightrope walk across to the other, with only his ego as a safety buffer.

The audacious stomach churning stunt, which lasted an hour, framed the fascinating look at bold attitude and unbreakable spirit proving some things you just can't make up. The vertigo-inducing images attracted 218,000 viewers to the digital channel, resulting in a 1% share.

It would seem that an irrational fear of large groups of women emoting was more powerful than either of the above as hyper drama Homefront (ITV1) was out performed by BBC One and Channel 4. The series improved on last week's audience slightly, with 2.5 milion people tuning in as it reached the half way point of its six episode run.

The final episode in the current series of The Corrie Years focused on those that have scaled the walls of the Granada Studios compound over the years and have successfully managed to escape.

Rita, Emily and Ken all looked on in envy as there were reminded of those who went before them including Maxine Peacock, Jim McDonald (who, in those in between stretches when he's not needed, is kept in solitary confinement on the lot) and Nick Tilsley 2.0 (the spray tanned topless Conservative Party parliamentary candidate). The look back down the fictional memory lane captured 2.5 million viewers and a 11% share.

Earlier on EastEnders, Sharon's grim existence all became a bit too much to bear. Thursday's episode saw the peroxide vagabond break into R&R to get her hands on some of her reliable happy pills. Just as she was about to neck the whole thing, Sharon came to her senses and DRAMATICALLY threw the bottle of pills against the wall. 7.6 million viewers watched Sharon battle her demons (too many to count at this stage of the game), resulting in a 36% share and the biggest audience of the day.

Earlier a double visit to Emmerdale secured ITV1's biggest success of the day. With preparations under way for next week's 40th anniversary live episode, the storyline was building up to an exciting conclusion. 6.6 million viewers tuned in for the first episode at 7pm, falling to 5.9 million for the second visit an hour later.

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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