SUNDAY: Star-studded spy thriller Page Eight caputured BBC2’s second biggest audience for a single drama in five years.

The special drama, starring Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz and Michael Gambon, was watched by an average audience of 3.56m (15.7%) from 9pm to 10.40pm on BBC2, while a further 324,200 (1.43%) watched on BBC HD.

It demolished BBC2’s slot average of 2.51m (10.67%) viewers for the year to date and was the channel’s highest rating scripted piece since Eric and Ernie, which attracted an audience of 6.08m (23%) in January.

It meant that Page Eight is BBC2’s second biggest single drama in five years, according to overnight Barb figures supplied by Attentional.

Elsewhere, BBC1 nature doc Ocean Giants drew to a close with an audience of 4.08m (17.43%) across the 9pm hour – its lowest ratings in a three-part series that averaged 4.89m (20.74%).

The nature show still thrashed a special episode of Penn & Teller: Fool Us, which pulled an audience of 2.05m (8.79%) out of its hat across ITV1 and ITV1 HD at 9pm. Another 125,200 (0.62%) watched on ITV1+1.

It was preceded by David Jason’s Great Escape, which could only muster a below par audience of 2.19m (9.69%) over the 8pm hour, while a further 152,300 (0.65%) travelled with the show on ITV1+1.

Fool Us was beaten by The Da Vinci Code - the 2006 film based on the bestselling conspiracy novel - which enticed an audience of 2.28m (10.4%) to Channel 5 from 7.10pm to 10pm.

Celebrity Big Brother followed with 2.08m (10.2%) over the 10pm hour.

Action film Rush Hour 3 provided Channel 4 with its entertainment for the evening and was seen by an audience of 1.86m (8.2%) from 9pm to 10.45pm. A further 390,800 (2.3%) watched on C4+1.

Overnights at-a-glance

BBC1 (9-10pm)
Ocean Giants
4.08m (17.43%)

BBC2 (9-10.40pm)
Page Eight
3.56m (15.7%) / 324k (1.4%) HD

ITV1 + HD (9-10pm)
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
2.05m (8.79%) / 125k (0.6%) +1

Channel 4 (9-10.45pm)
FILM: Rush Hour 3
1.86m (8.2%) / 391k (2.3%)

Channel 5 (7.10pm-10pm)
FILM: The Da Vinci Code
2.28m (10.4%)