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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 November 2005, 16:27 GMT
BBC TV Shakespeare audience drops
James McAvoy and Joseph Millson
James McAvoy played Macbeth with Joseph Millson as Billy
The audience for BBC One's Shakespeare Re-told season fell by 1.2m in its second week for Macbeth.

The updating of the classic play, which saw Macbeth become a top chef, was seen by 3.4m viewers, down 1.2m on the previous week's Much Ado about Nothing.

Coronation Street and drama Walk Away and I Stumble, which were shown on ITV1 against the drama, got 11.4m and 7.9m viewers respectively.

The BBC has made four dramas for the series celebrating Shakespeare's life.

The new version of Macbeth saw chef Joe Macbeth plot murder to take over Duncan Docherty's restaurant.

Contemporary settings

Its audience was still larger than those for the programmes on BBC2 and Channel 4 in the same time slots.

Much Ado About Nothing, which was relocated to a regional TV newsroom and starred Sarah Parrish, Billie Piper and Damian Lewis, got 4.6m viewers last week.

The remaining dramas are Midsummer Night's Dream and the Taming of the Shrew.

The series follows BBC One's acclaimed reworking of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales last year.

At its launch, BBC One controller Peter Fincham hailed the season for presenting Shakespeare in "a new and unusual way".


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