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Niall Johnson 

Sewing Bee returns with second lowest début audience

Sewing Bee returns with second lowest début audience

Monday night brought the return of a hugely familiar pattern to BBC Two, with the fourth series of The Great British Sewing Bee, the thrifty Bake Off-inspired spin-off, moving up to the big leagues with a 9pm slot.

From Love Productions, home of the great pottery throw down's, big allotment challenges and, eh, Benefits Street, Sewing Bee was the first carbon copy out of the gates following The Great British Bake Off's success, with the first episode netting 2.6 million viewers back in April 2013.

The four episode first series managed to slightly improve on its début audience, wrapping up with 2.7 million viewers a few weeks later.

The elongated second series opened up with 3.1 million viewers the following year, with the third series début seeing a noticeable fall with just 2.3 million viewers in February 2015.

It seems the pattern may be getting a little bit worn out by now, going by with the show's inconsistent audience. It remains to be seen how this fourth run will go down with viewers especially as the first 'official' spin off, Bake Off: Crème de la Crème, kicked off with 3.5 million viewers back in March before falling to 2.6 million viewers for last week's penultimate episode.

Last night saw presenter Claudia Winkleman introduced ten new hemming hopefuls, while Savile Row stalwart Patrick Grant was back in judging duties, with hot new thing Esme Young replacing WI matriarch May Martin.

The competitive needlework challenges easily secured BBC Two's biggest audience of the day although yesterday's opening was the second smallest debut audience yet, with 2.4 million viewers and an 11% share tuning in.

Meanwhile, in the dark and gritty world of ITV's Marcella (9pm), Anna Friels' mad-as-a-bag-of-cats copper entered her endgame, with the completely barmy roller-coaster reaching its penultimate instalment.

The 9pm slot biggest audience watched as the deranged detective spent some more time musing if she was a murderer or not (bloody violent blackouts haven't seemed to hamper her career too much) with a 21% share tuning in for the latest helping of addictive madness.

On Channel 4, 24 Hours in A&E (9pm) decided to ruin everyone's Monday night and focused on vulnerable old people, netting 1.2 million viewers and a 6% share.

Over on Channel 5 Undercover - The Big Sting (9pm) bagged 561,000 viewers and a 3% share while BBC One's comedy hour saw Peter Kay's Comedy Shuffle (9pm) securing 3.3 million viewers (a 16% share) followed by I Want My Wife Back (9:30pm) which brought in 1.9 million viewers (a 9% share).

At 7:30pm Britain's Puppy Dealers Exposed - Panorama (BBC One) rightfully traumatised families across the nation by doing a piece-to-camera beside a mound of dead puppies, in an effort to highlight the wrongs of illegal breeding. 2.5 million viewers and a 14% share tuned in.

There was an antidote for the distress over on BBC Two at 8pm with the second half of Choose the Right Puppy for You showcasing some much happier pups, bringing in 1.7 million viewers and a 9% share.

Channel 5's Police Interceptors netted 866,000 viewers at 8pm while ITV's Wild Australia with Ray Mears did much better with 2.4 million viewers. Over on BBC One, Rob Brydon's Would I Lie to You? brought in 2.2 million viewers and an 11% share.

There was some elitist cooking on Channel 4, with Eating Well with Hemsley + Hemsley (8pm) bringing in 729,000 viewers, followed by Food Unwrapped at 8:30pm which secured 1.2 million.

Earlier in soap land, Emmerdale scored 5.4 million viewers and a 32% share at 7pm while a double deluge of Coronation Street bagged 6.2 million (a 36% share) and 6 million (a 30% share) at 7:30pm and 8:30pm, respectively.


Despite all the competition, it was EastEnders (BBC One, 8pm) that took in Monday's biggest audience, with the proper Mitchell family reunion finally getting under way.

6.4 million viewers watched as Grant Mitchell finally set foot back in the square after a sensible amount of time away, resulting in a 33% share.

Overnight data is available each morning in'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.

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