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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 13:10 GMT
24 clocks up ratings success
Elisha Cuthbert returns as Kim Bauer
Elisha Cuthbert returns as Jack Bauer's daughter Kim
The highly-anticipated first instalment of the second series of TV drama 24 attracted more viewers than any episode of its first series in the UK, ratings figures have shown.

An average of 3.3 million people watched the first hour of the real time drama unfold on BBC Two on Sunday - up from the 3.17 million who saw the end of the first series in August 2002.

The opening episode of the new series was well worth the wait - it is still well written, tense and engaging

Simon W, England
The figures suggest that new viewers have joined the show after picking up on the hype generated by its first season.

Its real-time format - in which each of the 24 hour-long episodes play out an hour of a day - was considered groundbreaking when the show started.

Its unexpected plot twists and the use of split screens also added to its reputation for tension and excitement.

The new day sees counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland, return to help foil a nuclear threat against Los Angeles.

Its average of 3.3 million viewers between 2200 and 2250 GMT represented just under 16% of the viewing public.

On BBC One, Panorama was watched by 2.9 million people, while ITV1's police drama The Commander, starring Amanda Burton, attracted 7.8 million.

Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer
Jack Bauer faces another long day
On Channel 4, 1996 film Sleepers, starring Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman, was seen by 1.8 million.

The first series of 24 had an average audience of just over 2.5 million.

The second episode of the next series was screened on new digital TV channel BBC Three straight away, and was watched by 673,000 people.

All key cast members whose characters survived the first series made a return, including Elisha Cuthbert as Bauer's daughter Kim and Dennis Haysbert as President David Palmer.

In the US, the success of the second series has mirrored that in the UK, consolidating its place as a cult favourite without achieving blockbusting success.

Current episodes attract about 7.5 million viewers, putting the programme in the top 40 of most watched shows in the US.

See also:

16 Feb 03 | Entertainment
17 Feb 03 | Entertainment
19 Aug 02 | Entertainment
18 Aug 02 | Entertainment
10 Jul 02 | Entertainment
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