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Niall Johnson 

TV Overnights: Oxford finally safe as last-ever Lewis attracts 5.9m

Lewis

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As a fresh week of television sustenance kicked off, audiences seemed doomed to repeat past mistakes and once again fled to the soaps in a panic.

Emmerdale (7pm) got Monday off to a fine start by treating us to a punch-up in the Woolpack so early in the week. Declan and Katie Macey have been married for a short while so it's probably about time that the writers shattered their happy existence before viewers with weak attention spans get bored.

Not that they've been sitting around talking about sheep these past few months - recently poor Katie spent quite a lot of time trapped deep underneath the soiled fields of the village while Declan has been busying himself by acting like a tool for no discernible reason.

7.3 million viewers watched as the Monday blues got the better of the Lord of Home Farm as he threw a punch at his wife's ex. The shock of doe-eyed simpleton, Andy Sugden, turning the tables on Declan attracted a 33% share.

Things were slightly more civilised over on BBC One a little later. Excitingly waving the flag of despair at 8pm was everyone's favourite soap EastEnders and (would you believe it?) someone was having a bad day.

Bianca, a character symbolic of the show's miserable mantra if there ever was one, was struggling to deal with another series of bad decisions (a much more suitable name for the soap, should it ever wish to rebrand).

Not only did Bianca decide to go into business with walking single-celled hormone Kat, there was also her glut of children to look after and an ill-timed visit from her probation officer. What a right old palaver! The glum half an hour in the East End managed to attract 7.7 million Monday masochists, with a 31% share tuning in to see a 36 year old single mother of 70 struggle to keep up with the same job she had as a teenager.

As hard as Bianca worked to secure those viewers it was all in vain in the end - soap fans simply can't resist swarming to a cleverly scheduled double bill of Coronation Street (ITV). Monday's heart-warming tale of working class folk saw Fiz and Tyrone take their relationship to the next level of commitment by stealing a little baby together.

The first visit to Weatherfield at 7:30pm attracted 9 million viewers as the couple who never say no to adventure made plans to escape the country, attracting the night's biggest audience. An audience share of 38% was on hand to see wicked witch Kirsty agree to make an appeal for baby Ruby.

It was then time for an unneeded break as Caroline Quentin wombled about Cornwall for half an hour in Cornwall with Caroline Quentin (ITV, 8pm). Somehow the show brought in 3.9 million viewers.

Afterwards it was back to Manchester as the audience for Coronation Street (8:30pm) had fallen to a still-respectable 8.5 million viewers, resulting in the second most watched show of Monday night. A 33% share tuned in to see Roy Cropper get his stealth on as he followed his mother to a casino and witnessed the mini dictator getting thrown out on her arse.

Later on BBC Two, the second episode of the rebooted celebration of casual drinking retained almost the same amount of viewers week on week. Lately, it looks like the BBC seems to think they can wash their hands of ageism claims in one fell swoop, a secret weapon that will bring the average BBC personality's age up by at least 40 years.

Last night that one fell swoop, better known as Mary Berry, continued her assault on the station as she popped up on Food & Drink (8:30pm) to offer some criticism to host Michel Roux Jr. 2.4 million viewers tuned in to see the cross generational  battle, securing a 9% share.

If the soaps proved a little too predictable, then the 9pm slot was anything but. BBC Two offered up the third episode of well-intentioned song and dance period drama Dancing on the Edge. 1.6 million viewers watched as the band had to deal with a bunch of ye olde timey racist Germans, pulling in a 6% share.

Over on BBC One, the 10th Doctor, David Tennant, narrated a documentary about a group of penguins struggling to survive. The twist here was that some of the animals were equipped with spy cameras, while some of the penguins were actual robot spies. The nature documentary with the bonkers name, Penguins - Spy in the Huddle (BBC One, 9pm), pulled in 4.6 million viewers and an 18% share.

ITV offered up a more monumental event, in the shape of the final-ever Lewis (9pm). The nervous academics of the historic Oxfordshire town can finally breathe a sigh of relief as the inspector tracked down his final professor dicer. Having spent 13 years under the wing of Inspector Morse and seven years on solo adventures, it finally took the love of a good woman to make DI Robert Lewis give up the manslaughter game.

5.9 million viewers watched as the clever sleuth tracked down the murder of a Korean student, adding the kind of ethnicity to the mix that would shake the county of Midsomer to its very core. An audience share of 23% tuned in for the seasoned inspector's final furlong, helping ITV secure the 9pm slot.

Meanwhile over on Channel 4 was the continuation of the worryingly popular 'documentary' brand My Big Fat Gypsy Valentine (9pm). The exploitive nonsense stirred the interest of 3.6 million discerning viewers and a 14% share, eager to learn about other cultures.

10pm saw the return of Charlie Brooker's broken vision of the future as the second series of Black Mirror (Channel 4) gently eased viewers back in to the dystopian nightmare. Hayley Atwell starred as a widow interacting with a virtual version of her dead husband reclaimed from his social media history.

An audience share of 1.4 million viewers watched to see how the ghost originally got in the machine, securing an 8% share for the channel.

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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