Daily TV Marketplace - Kitchen returns with 25% audience share

ITV1’s second series of Hell’s Kitchen, this time without the Z-list celebs and with two chefs vying to produce a group of winners, hit the screens with 5.7 million viewers for its opening episode last night.

As Gary Rhodes and Jean-Christophe Novelli battled it out in the kitchen, the ratings war was firmly won by ITV1, with BBC One’s final episode of Casanova pulling in just 3.2 million viewers at the same time.

However, on BBC Two the series Around the World in 80 Treasures, hosted by Dan Cruickshank, achieved its second highest rating with 3 million viewers and a 13.1% share.

The prime time battle continued over on Five with the screening of the sci-fi film Judge Dredge, starring Sylvester Stallone and Armand Assante, beating Channel 4’s Going To Extremes series by half a million viewers, giving it 10% of the market share.

Earlier in the evening, the Monday night’s traditional double bill of Coronation Street secured 11.7 million viewers at 7.30pm, but it declined to 10.5 million for the later episode at 8.30pm.

EastEnders also managed 10.5 million viewers as people tuned in to see the return of the soap’s notorious thug Phil Mitchell to the square at 8pm.

Unfortunately for Channel 4 scheduler, the much publicised Election Unspun programme failed to compete with the soaps, gaining just half a million viewers and a paltry 2.1% share of the audience.

However, political interest has not completely wavered in the run up to the election and The Paxman Interviews on BBC One at 7.30pm managed to secure 2.4 million viewers.

The programme was the first in a series with the leaders of the main political parties – with the Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy first under Paxman’s barrage of questions.

The three-programme series will continue later this week with prime minister Tony Blair on Wednesday and Tory leader Michael Howard on Friday.

By Helen Kaye

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