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BBC teaches Sharpe some New Tricks



BBC teaches Sharpe some New Tricks

Ben Dowell
Tuesday April 25, 2006

Sean Bean's Napoleonic war hero Richard Sharpe lost the second round of hostilities on points last night to BBC1's popular cop series New Tricks.

Last night's concluding episode of Sharpe's Challenge at 9pm, the first new Sharpe adaptation since Sharpe's Waterloo in 1997, fell from Sunday night's 7.1 million viewers to 5.8 million losing six share points to fall from 31% to 25%.

Its firepower was more than matched by the second episode of New Tricks, the BBC1 drama about a group of old policemen solving crimes from the past. The show attracted 6.5 million viewers and a share of just over 27%.

On Sunday Sharpe blasted away the BBC1 drama Waking the Dead which got only 4.7 million viewers and a 20% share.

New Tricks' audience was, however, down on its opener last week of 7.2 million and a 28% share, but crucially the drama starring James Bolam, Dennis Waterman, Alun Armstrong and Amanda Redman just about maintained its share against strong competition at 9pm.

At the same time, 2 million viewers, a share of 8%, watched the last edition of Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and 3.1 million or nearly 13% of the available audience watched the first episode of the new series of Wife Swap on Channel 4.

Coronation Street typically dominated the airwaves at 8.30pm, its audience of 10 million and 49% share dwarfing the last episode of BBC1's documentary about Manchester police, Girl Cops.

However, University Challenge continued to hold its head up at that time, with 2.7 million viewers and a share of nearly 12% watching teams from the universities of Liverpool and Hertfordshire battling for a semi-final place.

EastEnders swept the board at 8pm, with 9.7 million viewers and a share of nearly 45%. At the same time an edition of Tonight With Trevor McDonald, in which the veteran broadcaster profiled July 7 bombing victim Martine Wright, drew 4 million viewers and a share of just under 19% of the available audience.

ITV1's soap, Emmerdale, attracted a typically healthy 8.5 million viewers from 7pm.

Channel 4 failed in its attempt to galvanise a late night audience around its Mob Week, with only 600,000 viewers tuning in for The Real Goodfella, its profile of mobster Henry Hill, at 11.05pm and only 100,0000 watching its two Sopranos repeats at 12.10am and 1.15am.

The late-night garlands went instead to BBC1 which got an audience of 3.2 million, a share of 29%, tuning in for the penultimate instalment of Comedy Connections at 10.35pm which profiled the sitcom 'Allo 'Allo.

· To contact the MediaGuardian newsdesk email editor@mediaguardian.co.uk or phone 020 7239 9857

http://media.guardian.co.uk/overnights/story/0,,1761009,00.html
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