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EDITIONS
 Monday, 20 January, 2003, 12:16 GMT
Lost Prince loses ratings fight
The Lost Prince
The epileptic Prince John was isolated from public life
Stephen Poliakoff's BBC One drama The Lost Prince pulled in an audience of 7.7 million when it was shown on Sunday.

But it failed to beat ITV1's A Touch of Frost, which was viewed by some 10.8 million - giving it a hefty 44.8% share of the evening's viewing figures.

The BBC said it was "delighted" with the performance of the first part of the drama, which concludes on Sunday.

Stephen Poliakoff
Poliakoff was "haunted" by the prince's tale

"It is an outstanding result for such a sophisticated piece of storytelling on BBC One," said Paul Almond, senior publicist for BBC drama.

The Royal, which preceded A Touch of Frost, also proved to be a ratings winner for ITV1.

The seven-part medical drama, set in 1960s Yorkshire and made by the team behind Heartbeat, won 11.3 million viewers - 41.4% of the audience share.

The remaining channels fared less well.

Channel Four showed the supernatural thriller The Craft, which pulled in 2.1 million while Five's show Heaven's Fire was watched by 0.9 million.

The BBC Two documentary The Fall of Milosevic, meanwhile, had just 0.8 million viewers.

Starring Miranda Richardson, Gina McKee and Michael Gambon, The Lost Prince tells the little-known story of Prince John, youngest son of George V and Queen Mary.

He was isolated from public life and kept away from his family after being diagnosed as an epileptic with autistic-like learning difficulties.

"Haunted"

Acclaimed writer and director Stephen Poliakoff set the story against the background of one of the most momentous periods in history - the political build-up to World War I and the machinations of European royalty in the early part of the 20th Century.

Poliakoff's work has been produced for theatre, television and the screen in a career spanning more than 30 years.

He told BBCi he was drawn to the story of the prince after seeing a photograph of the little boy in a national newspaper.

"I started looking into his life and was very, very haunted by the curve of his life - being born into the extraordinary Ruritarian splendour of Edward VII's court and then dying on the day they started negotiating the Treaty of Versailles," he said.

See also:

02 Jan 03 | Entertainment
22 May 02 | Entertainment
19 Feb 02 | Entertainment
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