TV Overnights: EastEnders fends off Man Utd with 7.4m for BBC One

24 Oct 2012  |  Niall Johnson 

Sometimes it seems like soap rules dictate that characters can never learn from their blunders. They are forever doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over, for our entertainment.

This cycle continues until the scriptwriters have utterly exhausted all personal lows for characters to reach and eventually retire their sorry lives.

Last night saw Phil and Sharon enter the zenith of their ungodly personal relationship. Phil realised that being part of a stable relationship would help his play for custody of granddaughter Lexi. You could almost see his cranium clockwork go in to overdrive as he approached Sharon with a bold suggestion.

Even Sharon looked horrified at the idea of a sensuous reunion, giving viewers faint hope that at least one of these people may have actually learned something throughout all the countless hardships they've caused each other over the years. This being EastEnders (BBC One, 7:30pm) though, viewers should know better. They sure are a forgiving and progressive bunch down in the East End of London.

Despite the regular gaps in logic and reasoning, the latest goings on in Walford pulled in the biggest audience of the day as 7.4 million viewers (a 33% share) tuned in to see Sharon realise that beggars can't actually be choosers.

The drama in E20 had to contend with some drama from up North, but for once its wasn't the residents of Weatherfield causing trouble. Adrian Chiles introduced the Live UEFA Champions League Group H game from Old Trafford at 7:30pm on ITV1. The clash between Manchester United and Portuguese club SC Braga kicked off at 7:45pm with mononymous away captain Alan netting the first goal just two minutes in.

An average audience of 4.4 million viewers (a 19% share) watched the entire coverage which resulted in a 3-2 win for the home team. The game peaked at 6 million viewers during the second half, around the time Jonny Evans secured the second goal for United.

Before the game a solid 7 million viewers caught up with life in the sleepy village formerly known as Beckindale (until a plane rained body parts all over the place). An audience share of 33% watched as Chas was interrogated by the police, informing them of all the bad blood between herself and the cadaver in the morgue. Not a great move.

Later on BBC One, Holby City fared well despite the game. Last night saw nurse Eddi McKee return to work, still fighting her addiction to a fictional sedative. In the end it all got a bit too much for her, helping her decide to leave Holby once and for all. The shock exit of one of the drama's most popular characters helped attract 4.6 million viewers and a 20% audience share.

BBC One's frilly lady drama The Paradise held its own against the uncivilised sweaty men over on ITV1 at 9pm. For the first half an hour, the period retail show was neck and neck with the football, until sports fans trailed off around 9:30pm. Last night the women of ladieswear had to deal with a strange man in their department.

Former Doctor Who assistant Arthur Darvil guest starred as a dodgy male (they are the only sort you'll find here). 4.9 million viewers (21% share) tuned in to see disaster strike the lady haven as men suddenly swarmed into the sacred place of sisterhood, like zombies from The Walking Dead.

All the media outlets were discussing little old Sky Living this morning and new US import, Elementary (9pm). The latest take on Arthur Conan Doyle's work had Cumberbatch fanatics up in arms earlier this year when the project was announced (because for some reason after 125 years Sherlock Holmes adaptions had suddenly become sacred).

The twist in the tale this time around saw the famous detective Jonny Lee Miller (an Englishman playing an American!) being released from rehab and kicking off a new partnership with Lucy Liu's Watson (ethnic and a lady!).

The pair had the essential chemistry and although it came across as a tame by-the-numbers hour of drama, for an American procedural it was breaking all the rules. 410,000 viewers (a 2% share) watched the opening episode which has recently been picked up for a 22 episode run.

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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