Page last updated at 09:41 GMT, Wednesday, 15 April 2009 10:41 UK

Red Dwarf scores record audience


The return of Red Dwarf

The return of cult sci-fi comedy show Red Dwarf pulled in the highest ratings ever for digital channel Dave over the Easter weekend.

Red Dwarf: Back to Earth attracted more than 2m viewers when its first new episode was screened at 2100 on Good Friday, early figures indicated.

It smashed Dave's usual ratings for the time slot, which averaged 266,000 for the whole of 2008.

The show reunited the original cast who starred in the BBC series.

Dwarf revival

The show was watched by 10% of the entire digital audience and beat BBC Two, which broadcast live golf, and Five, which broadcast US drama NCIS, in the same time slot.

Later figures revealed a further 342,000 watched the first Red Dwarf instalment on the timeshift channel Dave ja vu an hour later.

Another 226,000 people recorded the show and watched it after its original broadcast.

The revival is one of the most popular non-terrestrial commissioned shows, in terms of the live audience for a first broadcast.

In 2006, Torchwood's launch episode on BBC Three and the first instalment of Sky One's Terry Pratchett adaptation Hogfather, each attracted a live audience of 2.4m viewers.

The two following Red Dwarf episodes across the weekend scored a total of 1.7m and 1.3m viewers respectively, including timeshift viewers.

Red Dwarf ran for eight series on BBC Two between 1988 and 1999 and remains the channel's highest rated show.

At its peak, it pulled in around 8m viewers and was broadcast in more than 25 countries.

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