Is the love affair with Big Fat Gypsy Weddings over?

The Channel 4 show wins its slot but suffers huge ratings fall compared to first series average

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Channel 4’s ob-doc phenomenon Big Fat Gypsy Weddings returned for a new series last night, only to drop 2.5 million viewers compared with the average audience for its first run.

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Yesterday’s show was watched by 4.8 million viewers on C4, compared with an average overnight audience per episode of 7.3 million across the entire five-part series last year.

The show following traveller and Gypsy communities was spawned by a Cutting Edge documentary, with the first series proper beginning in January 2011. But even that opening episode – airing as it did before Gypsy Weddings was fully established as the cultural phenomenon it is now – was watched by 600,000 more viewers than last night’s series two opener.

Nevertheless, the show won its 9-10pm slot, drawing a 19.87 per cent share, and apparently damaging BBC1 drama Prisoners’ Wives, which dropped 800,000 viewers from the previous week, reducing it to a 4.2 million average with a 17.3 per cent share.

ITV1 fat-fighting show The Biggest Loser managed just 2.1 million, with a share of 8.8 per cent, while BBC2’s How to Grow a Planet was watched by 1.5 million, a 6.3 per cent share, and Channel 5’s US drama Body of Proof was watched by an average of 1.4 million viewers for a 5.6 per cent share.

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Overall, Channel 4 bosses are likely to be pleased with Big Fat Gypsy Weddings’s continued performance (last night’s audience was still more than double the channel’s slot average for the past 12 months), but will be eager to see in the coming weeks whether a significant portion of its audience has lost interest for good.