The Brief brought an average of 6.3 million viewers (27.3%) to ITV1 at 21.00 last night (Sunday 9 May) - up 1.4 million viewers from last week.

The Brief brought an average of 6.3 million viewers (27.3%) to ITV1 at 21.00 last night (Sunday 9 May) - up 1.4 million viewers from last week.

The penultimate episode of the legal drama managed its most impressive audience so far, peaking at 7.1 million. The first episode on the 25 April attracted 6.2 million (27.4%) and last week's (4 May) slipped to a disappointing 4.9 million (22.1%) for ITV1.

BBC1 could simply not compete. The last episode of He Knew He Was Right at 21.00 amassed 4.4 million (18.4%) in comparison.

Channel 4 had a relatively successful night with US blockbuster The Last Of The Mohicans at 21.00 garnering 2.5 million (12%). Five fared much better with action thriller Mercury Rising seizing 3.1 million (5.4%) also at 21.00.

BBC2 had a busy Sunday night with three new series: Top Gear , Football Diaries and Kingdom Hospital attracting an average 2.2 million viewers between 20.00 and 23.20.

Top Gear returned to BBC2 showcasing the brand new Aston Martin DB9 and brought 3.1 million (12.9%) to the corporation between 20.00 and 21.00.

At 21.00 an insight into the world of football through the eyes of players, wives, managers, fans and agents in Football Diaries scored 1.8 million (7.6%). It peaked during the first five minutes with 2.3 million (9.7%) but slowly dwindled over the next 60-minutes.

Later in the schedule BBC2's Kingdom Hospital , a Stephen King adaptation of Lars von Trier's cult mini-series, Kingdom , struggled with 1.6 million (9.6%) between 22.00 and 23.20, despite being heavily advertised and billed as BBC2's replacement to the hit series 24 which recently defected to Sky One.

The majority of viewers, however, tuned into ITV1's Heartbeat at 20.00 - proving with 9.7 million viewers (40.4%) that ITV1's Sunday night line up is far stronger than anything the corporation has to offer.

Even BBC1's screening of Entrapment - a US romantic thriller starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones proved a disappointment with 4.4 million (19.1%) at 19.15. Coronation Street at 19.30 on ITV1 attracted 11.1 million (50.4%) for 30-minutes.

On Saturday night (8 May) ITV1's Stars in Their Eyes Celebrity Special , presented by Cat Deeley, was a resounding hit with 6.3 million viewers (29.2%) between 21.15 and 22.15.

It beat off competition from the corporation with the BBC News at 21.25 garnering 4.3 million (19.8%) and BBC2's Have I Got News For You with 2.1 million (9.3%).

C4's science-fiction thriller The Abyss entertained 1.8 million (9.4%) and Five's CSI Miami at 21.25 triumphed with 3 million (14%), beating BBC2 and C4.

Elsewhere Casualty at 20.35 took the lion's share of the Saturday night audience with 8.1 million (35.9%) for BBC1. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? on ITV1 at 20.00 struggled with 5.4 million (24.7%).

Handel's Water Music on BBC2 at 20.00 got a respectable 1.6 million (7.4) and C4's two-hour special Cartharge - the Roman Holocaust impressed 1.5 million (7.2%).

Parkinson at 22.00 got over a quarter of the audience with 5 million (26.4%) tuning into see his valedictory show for the BBC.

The ITV Weekend News at 22.15 managed 4 million and a 19.9% share. The Premiership seized 3 million viewers and a 20.5% share at 22.30 after the ITV news.

On Friday (7 May) BBC2's new series London - aiming to bring to life the capital's history - was a relative disappointment for the corporation attracting an average of 2.3 million (10.2%) at 21.00. It peaked in the first five minutes with a weak 2.4 million and 10.7% share.

The Lenny Henry Show on BBC1 reached out to 5.2 million (23.1%) at 21.00 and was followed by Have I Got News For You which amassed 6.5 million (29.3%) at 21.30 - one of the highest recorded ratings for the satirical quiz show which was presented by ex-Tory leader William Hague.

Over on ITV1 a repeat of Midsomer Murders , which was averaging around the 8 million mark in its previous Sunday night peaktime slot, attracted 5.4 million (24.7%) between 20.30 and 22.30.

Peaktime shares for Friday 7 May: BBC1 - 29.7%, ITV1 - 29.6%, BBC2 - 9.8%, C4 - 8.6%, Five - 3.8%.

Peaktime shares for Saturday 8 May: BBC1 - 28.5%, ITV1 - 25.5%, BBC2 - 9.9%, Five - 8.9%, C4 - 7.4%.

Peaktime shares for Sunday 9 May: ITV1 - 35.6%, BBC1 - 19%, Five - 9.5%, BBC2 - 9%, C4 - 7.3%.

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