Two legs better: BBC1's Life of Mammals couldn't outrun ITV's Taggart
The BBC did its best to extract as much value as possible
from David Attenborough's 50th year on television last week, but failed to match ITV1's performance.
The Life of Mammals on Wednesday evening took a 27% audience share and attracted 6.1 million viewers, but was beaten by Taggart on ITV1, with a 30% share.
Life on Air, an hour-long plug for Attenborough's book, Life on Air, hosted by Michael Palin, also came second place to ITV1. It attracted 5.5 million viewers and a 24% share on Thursday night at 9pm. This compares with Wire in the Blood's
31% share and seven million viewers.
Channel 4's attempt to cash in on global paranoia, Hunting the Washington Sniper, attracted just nine per cent share in the same slot.
Attenborough also appeared on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, helping BBC1 to beat ITV1 for a time with a 26% audience share. But the channel then slipped behind at 11.20pm, when its movie, Switchback, lost out to True Lies on ITV1, which snatched 5.1 million viewers and a 25% share.
Channel 4's new Friday night post-pub show, Born Sloppy, presented by Sara Cox, caught only 698,000 viewers, and a six per cent share.
ITV1 continued its prime-time domination on Saturday night with Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, followed by the results of its record of the year competition, hosted by Ant and Dec, which took 30% and 31% shares respectively.
BBC1's much-hyped costume drama, Daniel Deronda, stumbled with 4.6 million viewers and a 21% share.
BBC seasonal favourite, Sports Personality of the Year, also failed to beat ITV1. On Sunday night it attracted a healthy 6.6 million viewers, a 26% share, but could not beat the huge draw that is Heartbeat on ITV1, which snared 44% of viewers from 8pm.
The Turner Prize remains a niche draw, and netted Channel 4 a three per cent share on Sunday evening.
New-format Top Gear made a reasonable impression on BBC2 on Sunday night, considering the competition, pulling in 3.3 million viewers, a 13% share.