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Thursday, 29 November, 2001, 17:08 GMT
Variety show is ratings hit
The Full Monty
The Full Monty stage troupe did a strip
ITV1's screening of this year's Royal Variety Performance has scored a victory for the network in its battle for viewers with the BBC.

Figures published on Thursday showed that Sunday's event - featuring daring dance routines from Cilla Black and Barbara Windsor - drew 11.1 million viewers when shown at 8pm on Wednesday.

In comparison, BBC One's behind-the-scenes The Science Of Walking With Beasts drew four million viewers.

The Royal Variety Show's audience accounted for 47% of the total viewership at that time and gave the programme its biggest TV audience in five years.

Cilla Black
Cilla: Made headlines the morning after the show

A spokeswoman for programme-maker LWT said: "We're absolutely thrilled. It just goes to prove that variety isn't dead."

The Royal Variety Performance unusually grabbed headlines after Black and Windsor performed a raunchy act in front of the queen.

Blind Date host Black wore a risqué black outfit with illuminated bra and knickers, while EastEnders actress Windsor was in similar attire.


They teamed up with comedian Lily Savage for a rendition of Got To Have A Gimmick from the hit musical Gypsy.

The show also caused a stir when the troupe from the Broadway stage version of stripping movie The Full Monty also performed.

Walking With Beasts
Walking With Beasts: Wednesday's show goes behind the scenes

The two routines upstaged performances by Sir Elton John and Jennifer Lopez.

But the biggest casualty was the BBC's The Science Of Walking With Beasts programme, which saw its viewers fall by one million on previous weeks.

The show gives an insight into the making of BBC One's top-rating new natural history series Walking With Beasts.

The Royal Variety Performance alternates between ITV1 and BBC One each year. In 2000, the show attracted 7.9 million viewers.

See also:

26 Nov 01 | Showbiz
J-Lo tops bill at royal show
15 Oct 01 | Showbiz
Sir Elton tops Royal Variety bill
27 Oct 00 | Entertainment
The Full Monty wows Broadway
06 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Charles meets pop divas
16 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
Beasts roar to ratings win
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