Jack Bauer's return brings 588,000 viewers to Sky 1
After laying waste to Los Angeles six times, with season-long jaunts to Washington and New York thrown in at the end, last night saw the return of Jack Bauer to the UK's TV screens after four long years away.
While the once-revolutionary real-time set up of 24 was starting to creak under the pressure of simple logic towards the end of its original run, Wednesday night saw the return of everyone's favourite rogue agent, bringing havoc to the streets of London.
24: Live Another Day (Sky 1, 9pm) is proof incarnate of American broadcasters' inability to let a once-phenomenal franchise go until it's truly milked every last bit of sweat from Bauer's furrowed brow.
As it turns out, a four year break between yet another very long day in the life of Jack Bauer is exactly what the series needed. The cut-down 12 episode event kicked off last night with a double helping of London-based assassination fun, with the American president being targeted on foreign soil for the first time in the series' run.
588,000 people tuned in to see a mentally and physically damaged Jack Bauer come out of hiding and reset the clock for another run of thrilling man-soap melodrama, resulting in a 3% share and Sky 1's biggest audience of the day.
The second helping of the Jack Bauer power hour saw the audience fall to 405,000 viewers but held onto the 3% share.
At the same time on Channel 4 was the start of a brand new series of 24 Hours in A&E (9pm), thankfully not in real time. Condensed into a handy pocket-sized one hour running time, the sixth series of fly on the hospital wall documentary saw the staff deal with confused drunks, broken children and the emotionally fragile.
The return of the intense show was watched by Channel 4's biggest audience of the day, with 2.3 million viewers and an 11% share tuning in.
Over on BBC One, Mel Giedroyc dragged five people with an extreme fear of heights up to the peak of the Swiss Alps before going all Mission: Impossible and forcing them to scale the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. While Vertigo Road Trip (9pm) might sound a bit too Channel 5 for some, the bizarre case of harsh medicine attracted an audience of 2 million viewers and a 10% share.
But it was comedian Billy Connolly's meditation on death that proved to be the biggest hit in the prime time slot. Billy Connolly's Big Send Off (ITV, 9pm) saw the Scottish star travel across America to discover the different rituals and methods for dealing with the nasty business of death. 3 million viewers decided to chase away their midweek blues with Connolly's whimsical views on the funeral industry, netting a 14% share.
A little earlier it was BBC One that ruled over the 8pm slot with truly dependable show MasterChef netting 4.9 million viewers and a 23% share, while Big Star's Little Star on ITV attracted 3.4 million viewers and a 16% share. Channel 4's 8pm offering, The Supervet (who can turn your pet bionic, apparently) was watched by 1.5 million and a 7% share.
ITV's two soaps claimed Wednesday's two top spots with Emmerdale (7pm) pulling in 6 million viewers and a 32% share as an obligatory drink was thrown in someone's face in the Woolpack.
Straight afterwards on Coronation Street (7pm) Carla Barlow somehow remained oblivious to her messy husband's affair with the Street's go-to girl, Tina.
7.1 million viewers watched as Carla had a heart to heart with the soon-to-be-dead scarlet lady about Peter's stint in rehab. The latest drama from Weatherfield brought in a 35% share and Wednesday's biggest audience.
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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. Overnight data supplied by TRP are based on 15 minute slot averages. This may differ from tape checked figures, which are based on a programme's actual start and end time.