BBC1's natural history series Life in Cold Blood held a convincing lead over ITV1's struggling The Palace with 5.4m viewers (22.5%) at 9pm.

The corporation's hour-long programme, presented by David Attenborough, held a largely stable audience over the hour but hit a high of 5.5m (23.5%) in the final 15-minutes. The entire third instalment was just slightly below the channel's slot average for last year of 5.5m (23.5%).

While Life in Cold Blood once again didn't have any trouble in winning its respective slot viewers have lost interest in the five-part series over the weeks. The first instalment on 4 February appealed to 6.7m (28%) with last week's show on 5.6m (23.6%). The first three editions have averaged 5.9m (24.7%).

ITV1 hasn't managed to put up any serious competition up against Life in Cold Blood as its new drama series The Palace has failed to grab the viewers' imagination and has consistently performed well below the channel's slot average.

Last night's sixth outing fell just below 3m (12.5%) in the same hour-long slot, its lowest audience of the run so far.

The high profile drama kicked off on 14 January with a lukewarm 4.3m (17.5%) and has seen its audience decline ever since with the preceding episodes hovering around the 3m mark. So far the series has averaged just 3.4m (14.1%), well below the slot average for last year of 5.7m (24.4%).

Channel 4 had the edge over its nearest competitors at 9pm with The Day of the Kamikaze proving to be something of a surprise hit.

The feature-length historical documentary pulled in a strong 2.2m (9.5%) between 9pm and 10.35pm peaking at 2.5m (11.5%) at 10pm. A further 100,000 viewers watched the programme on C4+1.

For 2007 C4 averaged 1.7m (7.7%) in the slot.

BBC2's ongoing Paradise or Bust series interested 1.2m (5.1%) for an hour while Five's film Kiss of the Dragon took 1.5m (7%).

BBC2 was in a much stronger position at 8pm. University Challenge interested 3.4m (13.3%) for half an hour. BBC2 had more viewers than ITV1's Tonight current affairs programme on 3.3m (13.1%).

University Challenge was followed by Masterchef on an impressive 3.6m (14.1%), more viewers than BBC1 at the time.

Panorama, in the same 8.30pm slot, had 3.5m (13.7%) for BBC1.

Further down the field was C4's Dispatches on 1.2m (4.6%) and Five's motoring programme Fifth Gear took 900,000 (3.4%).

All hours shares for Monday 18 February 2008: BBC1 - 21.2%, ITV1 - 20.4%, C4 - 8%, BBC2 - 7.7%, Five - 4.6%, multichannel - 36.7%.

Peaktime (6pm to 10.30pm) shares: BBC1 - 24.4%, ITV1 - 23.3%, BBC2 - 8.4%, Five - 7.5%, C4 - 7.2%, multichannel - 31.7%.