BBC1's courtroom drama Judge John Deedmade a successful start to its third series last night (27 November) with 6.6 million (27.8%).
The second series, which aired at the end of last year pulled-in an average audience of around 6 million.
The drama starring Martin Shaw as the eponymous judge though was undoubtedly given a hand up by the preceeding EastEndersspecial at 19.30. The extended soap drew 11.1 million (46.3%) over 55-minutes as Den tricked Phil over an armed robbery.
Considering the scheduling though BBC executives may have been expecting more from Judge John Deed and to have capitalised on EastEnders' audience. At 20.20 EastEnders was being watched by 12.1 million but in five minutes this had dropped to 10.3 million while 6.8 million were still watching at the start of the drama.
As such ITV1's normally robust police drama The Billtook a severe tumble at 20.00 with only 4.6 million (19.8%) over 60-minutes. Wednesday's (26 November) edition in the same slot had 7.7 million (31.8%). The police drama did manage to grow its audience. It started on 5.3 million but ended with 7.1 million. It had an injection of viewers immediately after EastEndershad finished at 20.30. The Bill's audience rose from 4.6 million to 5.9 million.
The commercial broadcaster regained some ground at 21.00 with Holiday Showdown. At the start of the series 7 million (31.7%) tuned-in to watch but this had dropped to 5.7 million (24.3%) by last Thursday. Last night though it staged a fightback, picking up 600,000 more viewers to average 6.3 million (26.5%).
Five cleared its usual Thursday peaktime line-up to show live coverage of the Uefa Cup second-round, second-leg tie between Liverpool and Steaua Bucharest from 19.45. The entire coverage was supported by 2.3 million (9.6%) which reached 3.1 million (13.1%) for 10-minutes between 21.35 and 21.45.
BBC2's Escape to the Countryat 20.00 picked-up 2.6 million (10.7%) while the start of a new series, A New Life Down Under, on Channel 4 got 2.2 million (9.1%).
BBC2 though crashed at 21.50 with 1.5 million (7%) for its new series The World's Most Powerful - Celebrity. C4's Ancient Egyptianshad the upper hand with 1.8 million (7.4%).
Five maintained its dominance at 22.05 with its film, Hard to Kill, getting 2.6 million (18.4%).
Peaktime shares for Thursday 27 November: BBC1 - 32.9%, ITV1 - 25.9%, BBC2 - 9%, Five - 8.2%, C4 - 7.8%.