BBC 2's simulcast of the launch night of BBC 4 proved a ratings disaster for the terrestrial channel this week, writes Jon Rogers.
According to unofficial overnights, peaktime BBC 2 averaged just 800,000 viewers (4.2 per cent share) on Saturday (2 March). The channel would normally gain around a 10 per cent share: on Saturday 23 February it had a peaktime audience of 2 million (9.1 per cent), while Channel 4's Heroes of Comedy at 21.00 appealed to 2.5 million (12.4 per cent). BBC 4's audience on launch night averaged 11,000 (0.18 per cent of multichannel homes) between 19.00 and 01.00.ITV's Being Victoria Beckham on Monday (4 March) at 21.00 secured 8.3 million (36.2 per cent) while BBC 1's drama CSI Manhunt at 21.00 took 5.8 million (24.8 per cent). Later, BBC 1's Billy Connolly's World Tour of England, Ireland and Wales attracted 5.1 million (35.3 per cent) while the ITV News at Ten (at 22.20) had 3.5 million (20.4 per cent). C4's True Stories on Monica Lewinsky had 1 million (10.1 per cent) but BBC 2's Newsnight at 22.30 took 1.2 million (8.5 per cent).The start of BBC 1's Rescue Me on Sunday (3 March) at 21.00 appealed to 3.9 million (17 per cent) but ITV 1's Heartbeat at 20.30 drew in 10.1 million (41.1 per cent) and The Jury at 21.30 was watched by 5.7million (27.3 per cent).