Thursday night’s Weakest Link Politics Special seven-way Leaders’ Debate wasn’t the damp squib many thought it might be after all the build-up and hype.
As I left work on “Maundy” Thursday night, I did wonder how many people might be tempted to go straight to the pub for a pre-Bank Holiday pint or four rather than heading home to watch a political debate. But the overnight ratings show the programme actually outgunned Emmerdale in its usual slot, and on Twitter there was a battle of the search terms to rival any political confrontation, as debate-related hashtags vied for top trend.
Here are some key questions about the debate as answered (or not) by social, and other, media…
How many people watched it?
Overnight ratings figures show the programme averaged an audience of 7 million – a 31% share of the viewing audience in its 8pm-10pm slot – and peaked with 7.4m, which is better than long-running soap Emmerdale manages at 8pm-8:30pm. Maybe ITV will consider a weekly debate (although they may have their work cut out convincing David Cameron…)
How popular was it on Twitter?
The Leaders’ Debate was Twitter on Thursday night. It accounted for a staggering 94.6% (or 96.3%, depending on who you talk to – a lot anyway) of all TV-related chat that day, with 1.5 million tweets sent. And if you weren’t paying to promote it, it wasn’t trending (and, yes, Anne Robinson and Weakest Link were debate terms as I’ll explain below).
Victoria Prosser was the 33 year old heckler who interrupted proceedings. According to a source speaking to RadioTimes.com, she had been vetted by pollsters ICM, her removal from the audience was “gentle and friendly” and she was “as good as gold” when approached by staff.
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