The inside story from 'Panorama' revealed that social workers wrote a report about Karen Matthews highlighting her "inability to successfully place the children's needs above her own" three years before Shannon went missing.
It attracted 5.6m viewers and a 23.8% share of the 8pm to 9pm audience on BBC One, much higher than the usual series average of 3m viewers that 'Panorama' usually attracts.
'I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!' won the 9pm to 10pm slot for ITV1 with 7.9m viewers (33.1%) tuning in for the penultimate instalment of the show.
Former Dollar singer David Van Day became the ninth celebrity to leave the jungle after receiving the fewest number of votes from viewers, which leaves Joe Swash, Martina Navratilova and George Takei to battle it out in tonight's final.
The fourth part of BBC One's supernatural drama 'Apparitions', which saw Father Jacob, played by Martin Shaw, discovering a pregnant woman possessed by unborn demons, pulled in 3.1m viewers and a 13.2% share of the 9pm to 10pm audience.
BBC Two's music panel show 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks', hosted by Simon Amstell with guest captain Dermot O'Leary, drew 2.1m viewers and an 8.9% share of the 9pm to 9.30pm audience.
It was followed by 'The Graham Norton Show', this week dedicated to Barry Manilow, which netted 1.5m viewers and a 6.3% share of the 9.30pm to 10pm audience.
Five's Uefa Cup coverage of MSK Zilina's 2-1 win over Aston Villa scored 1.8m viewers and a 7.5% share of the 7.30pm to 10pm audience, peaking with 2.4m viewers in the 9.30pm to 9.45pm slot.
'The Fun Police', a documentary about the inspectors, consultants and council officials who make it their business to protect the citizens of Britain from harm, drew 1.7m viewers to Channel 4. Including Channel 4+1 figures it reached 1.8m viewers.