Dave's decision to resuscitate sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf has paid off with a total audience of 2.4m (11.7%) tuning in at 9pm on Good Friday - the channel's best performance to date.

The half-hour show saw the crew transported back to present-day Earth to plead with their creator to write more episodes.

The show had 2.1m (10%) on Dave and then picked up 341,000 on the timeshifted option Dave Ja Vu an hour later.

The show completely dwarfed the channel's slot average so far this year of 236,000 (1.1%) while for all of 2008 it averaged 266,000 (1.4%).

The channel also continued strongly immediately after the new episode had finished with a repeat from the sixth series attracting an impressive 1.1m (5.7%), also for half an hour.

Red Dwarf was far and away the most watched multichannel show on Good Friday with no other channel even coming remotely close to giving Dave any serious competition.

A BBC3 repeat of an episode of Doctor Who at 8.05pm had 587,000 (2.8%) over 55 minutes with another episode of the sci-fi drama at 9.10pm with 420,000 (2.1%).

ITV2's American Idol at 9pm managed 357,000 (1.8%) and Film 4's ever-reliable The Shawkshank Redemption at 9pm managed 424,000 (2.6%).

Sky 1's film Big, starring Tom Hanks, had 172,000 (0.8%).

Over three episodes, the new episodes of Red Dwarf have been a huge success for the channel with the series averaging 1.6m (7.7%). The second edition, which aired in a 9pm slot on Easter Sunday, had 1.2m (5.9%) while the day after a similar 1.2m (5.6%) watched.

The three-part special featured the original cast of Craig Charles (Dave Lister), Chris Barrie (Arnold Rimmer), Danny John-Jules (Cat) and Robert Llewellyn (Kryten). Red Dwarf ran for eight series from 1988 to 1999 and remains BBC2's highest rated show. Over 8m viewers tuned in to the opening episode of series eight, Back in the Red: Part One, on 18 February 1999.