The annual festival of kitsch that is the Eurovision Song Contest helped bring an average of 7.9 million viewers to BBC One on Saturday night in what was a good day for the channel.
The glitzy event, hosted from the Ukrainian capital Kiev and coupled with a voiceover dripping in sarcasm from BBC Radio Two’s Terry Wogan, was won by clear favourite Greece, with the UK’s entry – sung by Javine – coming a woeful third from last.
The marathon extravaganza on BBC One from 8pm was watched by a 39% share of the audience, signalling the viewers continued enthusiasm for the show, despite the traditional bout of strategic voting and dismal performances.
The show achieved a peak of 9.7 million viewers at 10.30pm.
The programme sealed a victorious day for BBC One after it secured a massive 13.2 million viewers at the climax of the FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Manchester United.
An average of 7.3 million viewers – a 54% share of the audience – watched previous holder’s United attempt to wear down a resilient Arsenal team, only to be swept aside in a dramatic penalty shootout that sees the once all conquering United without a trophy this season.
Earlier in the evening, Doctor Who once again beat off any semblance of competition from ITV1 after securing 6.6 million viewers and a 35% share.
ITV1’s efforts were limited to a repeat of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace from 5.20 to 7.40pm, which helped itself to 3.9 million viewers and a 21.1% share.
Later showings of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and Hit Me Baby One More Time – Grand Final secured 5 million and 3.2 million viewers respectively.
Elsewhere BBC Two clinched ratings of 1.7 million and 1 million for its prime time offerings of Soul Deep: The Story of Black Popular Music and cop drama Conviction, while a two-hour potted history of artist Michaelangelo on Channel 4 clinched 1.6 million viewers from 7.10pm.
Five’s double bill of US crime dramas – CSI:NY and Law and Order: Criminal Intent – dragged in 2.2 million and 1.7 million viewers between them.
By Kevin May