Page last updated at 14:11 GMT, Tuesday, 17 November 2009

TV bonanza boosts Sunday ratings

Ant and Dec
I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here helped boost the overall ratings

Last weekend's television bonanza resulted in the biggest Sunday night audience for almost a decade.

The total TV audience during the peak hours of 1800-2230 was 27.2 million - the highest since January 2000.

The ratings boost was thanks to The X Factor results show and the return of Top Gear, Doctor Who and I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

In 2000, Coronation Street, Ground Force, Heartbeat and Jonathan Creek helped attract a record 27.7m viewers.

Overall, last weekend was the fifth-highest rated Sunday night since 1992, according to the Television Research Partnership.

"Super Sunday" - as it has been dubbed in the TV industry - kicked off with an average 9.1 million viewers tuning in to BBC One to watch the Doctor Who special, the second of David Tennant's final four episodes in the role.

According to early overnight figures, it gained a 34% share of all TV viewing between 1900-2000. The last Doctor Who special, screened at Easter, brought ratings of 8.4m.

Doctor Who
More than 9 million viewers tuned in to Doctor Who

The X Factor followed with 14.3m viewers, peaking at 15.2m - half of all television viewers at the time - for the final 15 minutes, when pub singer Jamie Archer was voted off the show.

Nearly 10 million viewers then stayed tuned to ITV1 for the return of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

The show was watched by 9.8m people - the programme's most successful launch since series three in 2004.

Although it had been moved back an hour from its usual time to avoid clashing with The X Factor, Top Gear still had to compete with the celebrity jungle show.

It pulled in 5.5m viewers, taking second place for the 2100 time slot.

Channel 4 and Five screened Hollywood films during the competitive peak evening hours, although neither was able to compete. Channel 4's double premiere of Clint Eastwood's war films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima picked up one million and 300,000 viewers respectively at 2100 and 2335.

1. 2 January 2000 - 27.72m
2. 29 December 1996 - 27.65m
3. 25 December 1994 - 27.54m
4. 9 February 1997 - 27.44m
5. 15 November 2009 - 27.2m
Source: BARB/Television Research Partnership

Five's screenings of disaster movie The Towering Inferno pulled in 800,000 viewers and another 500,000 saw Ashton Kutcher comedy Dude, Where's My Car?

Traditionally, Sunday nights have been the home of cosy drama series on the BBC channels and ITV.

Figures show TV viewing has become more fragmented over the years.

On 29 December 1996, Only Fools and Horses alone attracted 24.3m viewers at 2000 as part of a total peak time TV audience of 27.6m.

In recent years, high cumulative audience figures have comprised a large number of people watching several different programmes across a variety of channels.

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