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 Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 13:14 GMT
Street killer attracts 15m viewers
Brian Capron as Richard Hillman
Is it only a matter of time before Richard is caught?
The climax of Coronation Street's dramatic serial killer storyline attracted an audience of more than 15 million viewers to the ITV1 show.

The soap opera has been running one of its biggest ever stories as murderer Richard Hillman struck again, killing the character of Maxine Peacock, played by Tracy Shaw.

And the popularity of Monday night's double bill led to the National Grid reporting a massive power surge during the soap's commercial breaks.

An estimated 15.3 million viewers watched the first instalment of Coronation Street at 1930 with 15.6 million tuning in at 2030 to watch the murder, according to unofficial overnight figures.

A National Grid spokesman said: "Obviously, there was a huge audience which meant at the end of the programme people were getting up, turning lights on, going to the toilet, opening fridge doors and boiling kettles."

"It's that concentrated period when a programme finishes and millions of people around the country go and do something else other than watching Coronation Street."

By 1600 GMT on Tuesday, the Independent Television Commission, ITV's watchdog, said it had received 27 complaints from viewers about the episodes.

Coronation Street
What did you think of the episodes?

It's panto time - and he's behind you, Emily!

Ian, England
But the 1,500 mega-watt surge was not enough to beat the 2,600 mega-watt flow experienced when the "Who shot Phil Mitchell?" storyline was revealed in EastEnders in April 2001.

That episode saw an estimated 20 million watch as Lisa Fowler was unveiled as Phil's attempted assassin.

The characters in Coronation Street have been living under the shadow of a serial killer for months.

Strikes again

Viewers have known all along that Richard Hillman, played by Brian Capron, is the culprit but since his marriage to Gail Platt he has become a respected member of the community.

But with two deaths on his hands it was only a matter of time before he struck again, with viewers left wondering who would be his next victim.

Tracy Shaw
Shaw quit the show after seven years
It was known that Tracy Shaw was leaving the soap after seven years to pursue other acting projects.

With photographs of her character's funeral published in the press it was clear she would fall prey to Hillman.

Veteran character Emily Bishop, played by Eileen Derbyshire, was also attacked in Monday's episode but survived the ordeal.

Viewers will now be kept on the edge of their seats waiting to find out if Hillman is caught as fingers are pointed at other Street characters.

Capron was recently voted best "bad boy" character for his portrayal of a killer on the loose at the TV Quick Awards.

  Actor John Altman who plays EastEnders' Nick Cotton
"We have a fascination with evil"
See also:

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