ITV’s four-part period drama, Titanic, lost 2.5 million viewers from the first show to the second programme, according to overnight ratings data.
Although Julian Fellowes’s latest TV effort premiered last Sunday as the top show in its 9pm timeslot, attracting 6.9 million viewers, the ratings appear to be sinking faster than the ill-fated ship. Last night, only 4.4 million (a 17 per cent share) tuned in to ITV1 (and HD) to watch the series progress – representing a 36 per cent decrease in viewers compared to Titanic's maiden voyage.
The fact that a further 300,000 watched Titanic episode two an hour later will come as scant consolation to channel bosses, who would have been hoping the series could repeat the ratings success of Fellowes’s international smash hit, Downton Abbey. Currently filming a third series, Downton has proved to be one of the most popular dramas in ITV’s history, regularly attracting more than eight million viewers.
The main beneficiary of Titanic’s demise appears to be BBC1’s Silent Witness, which returned last night at 9pm with an average audience of 6.7 million viewers, a 27 per cent share.
It’s the first time that the 15-series old BBC ratings magnet has been scheduled on a Sunday since 2006, which may leave cynics (and, I’m sure, ITV bosses) wondering whether the BBC were trying to add a ratings torpedo to Titanic’s woes. However, poor reviews of Fellowes’s sea-bound drama suggest it may be the content, rather than the competition, that is primarily responsible for the fall in viewers.
Elsewhere at 9pm, Channel 4’s excellent drama, Homeland, continued to keep audiences gripped, attracting 2.3 million viewers, a 9 per cent share.
A million people (a 4 per cent share) tuned in to BBC2 to watch The Falklands Legacy with Max Hastings and 1.3 million (a 6 per cent share) enjoyed a movie hit courtesy of Rush Hour 2 on Channel 5.