Cornish medical drama Doc Martin delivered the goods for ITV1 last night as the first episode of series five attracted a very healthy average audience of 8.4 million to the channel between 9pm and 10pm, a 32.4 per cent share of all viewers watching TV at the time.
A further 300,000 viewers chose to enjoy the beautifully shot Martin Clunes vehicle on ITV1 HD.
In the same slot last week, Coronation Street could only manage 7.8 million (a 30 per cent share) from 9pm to 9:30pm, and the Red or Black? results show delivered 5.1 million (a 20.2 per cent share) between 9:30pm and 10pm on ITV1.
The previous Monday, fewer than 2.1 million (an 8.5 per cent share) watched Agatha Christie’s Poirot in the 9pm slot on the commercial channel.
Last night’s Doc Martin easily won its slot, with Fiona Bruce’s exploration of The Queen’s Palaces (BBC1) in second place, only managing 3.9 million (a 14.9 per cent share) in the same hour.
Over on BBC2, Dragons’ Den continued to rumble along, pulling in 2.3 million viewers (an 8.7 per cent share) and beating off competition from Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies, which appealed to an average audience of 1.7 million viewers (a 6.7 per cent share).
A further 167,000 people chose to watch Peter Jones, Theo Paphitis and company in glorious high definition. However, the lure of large noses and malfunctioning private areas in crystal clear HD was greater, it seems, as half a million enjoyed Embarrassing Bodies on Channel 4 HD.
The 9pm slot was less of a success for Channel 5, who could only attract 700,000 viewers (a 2.9 per cent share) to watch Soho Blues – an observational documentary following the fortunes of central London bobbies.