TV ratings: Britain’s Got Talent begins fightback

ITV's Saturday-night star search attracts viewers as the live shows approach

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Viewing is on the rise for ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent.

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Saturday’s programme (21 May) attracted an average audience of 9.6 million viewers (44 per cent share) between 8pm and 9pm on ITV1 – 200,000 more than watched the corresponding sixth show of last year’s contest. A further 400,000 watched on ITV1 +1. 

These latest numbers will come as a relief to ITV execs after a slow start to series five in which new judges David Hasselhoff and Michael McIntyre joined Amanda Holden on the annual nationwide talent search.

Ratings for the second show of the series were the lowest for the audition stages since the programme began in 2007, prompting critics to speculate as to whether the format could survive without Simon Cowell at the helm. 

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However, it appears BGT may have weathered the ratings storm (which may, ironically, have been caused by unseasonably good weather), and with Mr Cowell due to return to adjudicate the live semi-finals and final at the end of the month…perhaps reports of the talent show’s death have been greatly exaggerated.