New Tricks… good old fashioned ratings

Despite drama off the screen, the show can still attract big numbers for BBC1 as 7.7 million tune in for the series nine opener

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While New Tricks isn’t getting much love from either its cast or writers these days, judging by last night’s ratings, the public’s still got a soft spot for the BBC’s coppers of a certain age.

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An average audience of 7.7m people (31.6% share) tuned in to BBC1 last night between 9-10pm to see James Bolan kick off the crime drama’s ninth series with the bombshell announcement of his resignation.

The show hit a peak of just over 8m viewers (32.8%) in its final fifteen minutes on air and, in fact, pulled in more viewers than either EastEnders (7.6m) or Corrie (6.9m; 7.2m) managed yesterday evening, which must make the show’s recent problems all the more galling for the Beeb’s number crunchers.

However, last night’s season-opener failed to lure in as many punters as the first episode of series eight, which was seen by 9.2m viewers when it debuted on BBC1 last July, so perhaps Bolan’s right and the show really is getting a little “stale.”

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Still, with Amanda Redman and Alun Armstrong both having announced their intentions to depart the show after the next series, perhaps New Tricks’ re-imagining as The Dennis Waterman Show might be just what it needs to get back to the giddy heights of yester-year…