BBC1’s new doc series suffers at the hands of ITV as hit drama Broadchurch draws to a close

The Boomtown Rats famously disliked Mondays; Tuesday has its Ruby; Wednesday is hump day, while most people thank Crunchie its Friday. Saturdays, as Elton put it, are alright for fighting, and Sunday is a day of rest, allegedly.

But what of Thursday? Ironically, on restful Sundays, Thursday gets its oeuvre – namely Endeavour Morse’s boss, detective inspector Fred Thursday, a character so phlegmatic that he lights his pipe while being menaced by a murdering psycho atop a roof. Thursday – unruffled day.

Elsewhere, animals were honoured – though how did they know? – while sporting contracts allowed some schedule leapfrogging.

ITV’s penultimate Broadchurch achieved 6.9 million/28% (342,000 +1). Not surprisingly, this was too much for BBC1’s new documentary series The Prisoners (3.6 million/14%), bumped from last week by the Beeb’s Thatcher tribute.

BBC1’s drama combo on Tuesday, Holby City at 8pm (4.7 million/21%) and The Syndicate (5.3 million/22%) at 9pm remained in winning mood against ITV’s repeat of Midsomer Murders (2.5 million/11%; 200,000 +1), slotted in between the final stages of The Champions’ League.

BBC1’s coverage of the former PM’s funeral on Wednesday averaged 3.2 million/42% between 9.15am and 12.20pm; the audience peaked at 4.4 million/50% at 12.15pm. At 8pm, BBC1’s MasterChef (4.5 million/21%) continued to make a mess of ITV’s Food Glorious Food, which cobbled together 2 million/9% (87,000 +1). At 9pm, Scott & Bailey’s 4.5 million/20% (236,000 +1) defeated a repeat of New Tricks (2.8 million/12%).

ITV took Britain’s love of animals to an interesting place on Thursday with The British Animal Honours 2013. With 3.2 million/15% at 8pm (169,000 +1), it couldn’t overhaul the week’s second MasterChef (4.7 million/22%) but did beat BBC1’s Maureen Lipman: If Memory Serves Me Right from 9pm (2.6 million/12%).

ITV’s new three-part Friday thriller The Ice Cream Girls got off to an excellent start at 9pm with 4.9 million/21% (282,000 +1), just ahead of BBC1’s Have I Got News For You (4.8 million/ 21%), but in front of Not Going Out (3.7 million/16%) at 9.30pm.

With highlights of the Bahrain GP qualifying session (2.5 million/ 19%) playing at 5.10pm, BBC1 pushed Saturday’s peaktime schedule later. This enabled The Voice UK to play after Britain’s Got Talent. ITV’s juggernaut stayed put on 9.7 million/44% (632,000 +1) at 7pm, but The Voice jumped by 1.3 million to 7.9 million/34% from 8.20pm.

If by starting BGT at 7pm, ITV’s plan was to force The Voice early and neuter it, BBC1 had a reason to escape this week. Now it’s there, it can continue to occupy the later part of the evening where viewing overall is higher, giving The Voice an unfettered chance to grow.

On Sunday at 6.45pm, ITV’s Catchphrase (5 million/24%; 300,000 +1) and Off Their Rockers (4.8 million/20%; 450,000 +1) at 7.30pm continued to deliver ROI heaven to ITV.

Opposite, BBC1’s Countryfile remained ahead (6.7 million/29% at 7pm.) At 8pm, ITV’s Endeavour fell from launch but held share. Its 5.3 million/21% from 8pm was just behind BBC1’s Antiques Roadshow – though it edged ahead with +1. At 9pm, The Village lagged with 4.8 million/19%.