ITV1 enjoys ratings boost with X Factor and England's Wembley victory

LONDON - ITV1 enjoyed bumper audiences on Saturday, with a peak audience of 11.3m tuning in to the first live show of 'The X Factor' and 9m watching England thump lowly Kazakhstan 5-1 at Wembley.

'The X Factor' captured an average audience of 10.4m viewers and a 44% share of the audience over the two-hour slot between 7.15pm-9.15pm according to unofficial overnight figures, beating the first live show from 2007 by 4m viewers.

It triumphed over BBC One's fantasy drama 'Merlin', which had 5.9m viewers and a 26% share of the audience.

An average audience of 7.6m viewers and a 39% share of the audience watched England's match at Wembley between 4.30pm-7.30pm as goals from Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe took England to the top of their qualifying group for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa after a slow start as the team made fans wait until the 52nd minute for a goal.

During the same slot, BBC One's 'Strictly Come Dancing' had 7.4m viewers and a 35% share of the audience, between 5.50pm-7.05pm.

ITV's night also featured a celebrity couple Ashley and Cheryl Cole in action with greatly differing degrees of success. The England left-back Ashley Cole was barracked by the Wembley crowd after committing a terrible back pass which led to the Kazaktstan goal.

Cole's wife, Cheryl, the Girls Aloud singer, then appeared live on 'The X Factor' panel as one of the show's judges and was seen whooping as all her acts reached the final.

A peak audience of 9.2m viewers and a 48% share tuned in for the results show, with an average of 8m viewers and a 41% share watching the whole show from 10.00pm to 10.45pm.

ITV1's Vernon Kaye-fronted game show 'All Star Family Fortunes' also performed well, averaging 6.5m viewers and a 29% share between 9.15pm and 10.00pm. 


On Sunday night the first episode in a new series of ITV1's 'A Touch of Frost', starring David Jason, lead primetime viewing with 7.6m viewers and a 33.3% share of the 9-11pm audience.

It beat BBC One's new travel series 'Stephen Fry in America', which pulled in 5.6m viewers and a 21.8% share of the 9pm to 10pm audience.

In the first episode of six 'QI' host Fry went deer hunting and lobster fishing in New England.

Earlier in the evening 'Peter Kay's Britain's Got the Pop Factor' became Channel 4's highest rating programme of the year so far with 5.5m viewers tuning in, a 20.2% share of the 8-9.15pm audience.

The comedy, with the full title 'Peter Kay's Britain's Got the Pop Factor and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice' pokes fun at the current boom in talent shows.

Including Channel 4+1 figures it reached 6.1m viewers.

It was followed with more Kay fare, 'One Hundred and Eighty: The Tour Documentary', which was a behind the scenes look at Peter Kay's 'Mum Wants a Bungalow' tour

It attracted 2.6m viewers and a 10.5% share of the 9.15-10.15pm audience, reaching 2.8m if Channel 4+1 figures are included.

At 9-10pm BBC Two's 'James May's Big Ideas' netted 1.9m viewers (7.1%), while Five's airing of the film 'Ghost', starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, which drew 1.1m viewers and a 6.1% share of the 9pm to 11.30pm audience.

Over on BBC One the 'Strictly Come Dancing' results show, which saw former EastEnder Jessie Wallace booted off, pulled in 7.4m viewers and a 26.5% share of the 8.15-9pm audience.

The first episode in a new series of 'Heartbeat' attracted 5.3m viewers and a 19.4% share of the 8-9pm audience on ITV1.


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