Secret Diary of a Call Girl makes strong debut with 1.8m

LONDON - ITV2's new drama 'Secret Diary of a Call Girl' starring Billie Piper opened with 1.8m viewers last night, handing ITV its biggest audience this year for an original commission on multi-channel.

The 30-minute episode pulled in an average share of 11%, and peaked with 2.1m and a 12.7% share at 22.05pm.

The show is based on the blog 'Belle de Jour', the anonymous diary of a 28-year-old London call girl, which later became a literary hit.

The commercial broadcaster commissioned the show as part of wider plan to attract younger, more aspirational viewers to ITV2. Last night's show attracted a 16% share among 16- to 34-year-olds.

The new series was backed by a heavyweight marketing campaign featuring former 'Doctor Who' actress Piper. It was created by Mother London and featured posters at high-profile sites around the UK, press ads and a branded group on social networking site, Facebook.

On terrestrial television, ITV1's new drama 'The Whistleblowers', the broadcaster's answer to BBC One's popular MI5 spy series 'Spooks', made its debut last night with a peak audience of 4.4m.

The first instalment of a six-part series, in which two high-flying lawyers stumble across a police conspiracy, pulled in an average audience of 3.8m and a 17% share.

'The Whistleblowers' was scheduled in the 9pm-10pm slot, but was beaten by BBC One's documentary series 'Who Do You Think You Are?'.

The fourth instalment of a seven-part series, presented by Carol Vorderman, attracted an average audience of 6.3m and a 28% share.

On Channel 4 during the same slot, the first instalment of three-part documentary series 'Meet the Natives', drew an average audience of 1.7m and an 8% share.

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