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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
O'Grady has hit Channel 4 debut
Paul O'Grady
Paul O'Grady defected from ITV1 to Channel 4 in January
Channel 4's decision to poach Paul O'Grady appears to have paid off, with more than 3m viewers tuning in to each of his first three chat shows.

The audience for each was between four and five times that of "spoiler" repeats of his old programmes shown on ITV1, according to provisional ratings.

Technical problems delayed the release of the figures so these interim figures are still not final.

On moving to Channel 4, O'Grady said it was "the only place to be at teatime".

His new slot - at 1700 each weekday - is being shared with daytime television stalwarts Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan. The two programmes will rotate every three months.

O'Grady's ITV1 show had been a ratings success since its launch in October 2004, but he defected to Channel 4 in a blaze of publicity in January.

ITV planned to counter the new Channel 4 show by repeating a week of old episodes of O'Grady's programme at the same time, which were almost identical in style and set design to his new shows.

'A great result'

Monday's edition of The New Paul O'Grady Show gained 3.4m viewers, with the ITV1 repeat watched by approximately 700,000 people.

On Tuesday, Channel 4 attracted 3.3m compared to an estimated 700,000 for the rerun.

The ratings for Wednesday were 3.2m for Channel 4 and 600,000 on ITV1.

On Thursday, ITV1 pulled its scheduled repeat of O'Grady's programme, replacing it with an old epsiode of Agatha Christie's Poirot.

"It's a great result for the latest addition to our successful daytime roster," said Adam MacDonald, Channel 4's commissioning editor for daytime.

"Paul is a hugely talented performer and audiences are clearly delighted to welcome him back to Channel 4."

ITV did not respond to requests for a comment on the ratings.

O'Grady - best known as his alter ego Lily Savage - was named TV personality of the year earlier this month at an awards ceremony given by the Television and Radio Industries Club.

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27 Apr 02 |  Entertainment

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