Commercial channel bags peaktime share as BBC 2's comedy strand marches on
Monday night viewing figures were dominated by the nation's three favourite soaps, writes Patrick Lawlor

Emmerdale at 19.00 took 9.4 m (49.9 per cent share) for ITV 1 against BBC1's Holiday with Craig Doyle which netted 4.1m (21.8 per cent). Coronation Street was back to its best at 19.30 with 12.3 million (60.3 per cent), Sally's shop bursting into flames causing a temporary lull in the BBC's 4x4 Reports series on street crime in the same slot, which averaged 3m (14 per cent).

The balance shifted somewhat at 20.00, as little Mo's court battle in EastEnders grabbed back 11.9m viewers (52.2 per cent). ITV 1's Tonight - with Trevor McDonald failed to inspire viewer interest in current affairs with 3.6m (15.8 per cent). However, the commercial channel snatched back its audience for the new 12 - part run of the docusoap Airline, which bagged 7.5 m (32.5 per cent).

BBC 1's The Inspector Lynley Mysteries held on to 6.2m (27 per cent) which ran simultaneously at 8.30 with BBC2's sustained hit Malcolm In the Middle (2m, 8.5 per cent). The channel enjoyed further success with its Monday night comedy strand. The finale of Vic & Bob's Shooting Stars captured 2.3m (11.1 per cent), youth sitcom Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps attracted 2.3m (10%), as did Room 101 (11.2 per cent) which featured former Channel 4 chief executive Michael Grade.

ITV 1's popularity continued with psychological thriller The Cry at 21.00, which garnered 5.9m 27.7 (per cent), followed by the News at 23.00 which had 5.9m (21.4 per cent). BBC1's News at 22.00 was viewed by 4.5m (21.2%), and 3.9m (22.5 per cent) stayed with the channel for Billy Connolly's World Tour of England, Ireland and Wales.

Channel 4's popular Time Team programme in the 21.00 slot took 3.2m (14.2 per cent) on a special dig in Canterbury. Unsurprisingly the channel's undressing of The Truth About Lesbian Sex persuaded 2.7m to tune in, 20% of the audience share, at 22.35.

The overall peaktime shares saw ITV 1 keep its nose in front with 33.1 per cent, to BBC 1's 27.7 per cent. Channel 4 with 9.5 per cent enjoyed a narrow but welcome victory over BBC 2 which had 9.3 per cent, while Channel 5 averaged 4.6 per cent.