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Monday, 14 January, 2002, 16:12 GMT
Shackleton repays Channel 4
The  Endurance
The Endurance was trapped in the ice
Channel 4's Shackleton has become the broadcaster's most watched drama for more than 12 months, audience figures show.

Viewing figures for the two-part drama - delayed because of a change in the way the audience size is calculated - revealed that the first episode on 2 January Shackleton pulled in 3.6 million viewers

But the drama was still beaten by a screening of the film Meet Joe Black on BBC Two, with an audience of 4.3 million and a 22% audience share.

Shackleton, starring Kenneth Branagh, was Channel 4's most expensive ever programme, costing more than 10m to make.

Voyage

It charted Shackleton's doomed trans-Antartica mission.

While undertaking the voyage in 1915 Shackleton's ship became trapped in ice and the explorer had to abandon most of his crew and embark on an 800-mile trip to get help.

The second episode had an audience of 3.3 million viewers, with the same 16% share of viewing on both nights.

"Charles Sturridge's Shackleton has been Channel 4's most ambitious drama to date and our best rating commissioned drama over the last year," a Channel 4 spokesman told BBC News Online

"We are delighted that it has captured the attention of such a wide audience."

In January 2000 the adaptation of Dava Sobel's award-winning Longitude attracted 2.9m viewers.

The figures were delayed as the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (Barb) established a new system of assessing viewing figures, which promises to be more accurate than the previous method of calculating audience size.

See also:

15 Dec 01 | Sci/Tech
Shackleton island to be preserved
28 Dec 01 | Reviews
Tamzin can't cap Shackleton
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