Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery seen by 500,000 viewers on BBC3

But despite the enormous amount of press attention, the comedian's documentary wasn't the most popular show on the station last night

Russell Brand’s first foray into serious documentary making, Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery, which aired on BBC3 last night between 9-10:00pm, was seen by 504,000 viewers and garnered a 2.3% audience share.

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The hard-hitting show, which featured the Get Him to the Greek star discussing his personal battles with drug dependency and exploring the range of therapeutic options available to addicts, saw its viewership rise from 366,000 (1.7%) at 9:00pm to a peak of 587,000 (2.6%) just before the programme’s conclusion.

However, in spite of the acres of press coverage that preceded the show, Russell’s documentary wasn’t the best performing programme on the channel last night and was beaten in the ratings by light-hearted animated comedy shows Family Guy and American Dad.

Seth MacFarlane’s two zany US TV franchises both attracted more viewers to BBC3 later in the evening, with 754,000 people (6.2%) tuning in to see the first episode of last night’s Family Guy double bill at 11:00pm and 822,000 (8.9%) settling in for the second at half past.

American Dad, which kicked off just before midnight, saw some of Family Guy’s audience toddle off to bed but still entertained 614,000 night birds (8.7%) as Thursday drew to an end.

From Addiction to Recovery also faced stiff primetime competition from three of the big five terrestrial channels yesterday evening, all of which were airing brand new shows starring big celebrity names.

BBC2’s Paralympic drama The Best of Men, which starred Rob Brydon, Eddie Marsan and Niamh Cusack drew an audience of 2.9m (13.5%) between 9-10:00pm; Jennifer Saunders’ equestrian documentary Back in the Saddle was watched by 1.6m (7.5%) on ITV1; and Channel 4’s screening of Peter Kay Live, which also kicked off at 9:00pm, had 3.5m people (17%) shouting “garlic bread” along with the show in shaky Bolton accents.

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However, with the critical reaction to the show rather positive, it’s availability on iPlayer and BBC3 gearing up to repeat the documentary a fair few times over the coming days, Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery is sure to reach a much wider audience than it did last night…