ITV1 thriller 'The Children' debuts with 5m viewers

LONDON - 'The Children', a three-part thriller exploring how children are affected by marital break-ups, made a strong debut last night pulling in 5m viewers on ITV1, according to unofficial overnight figures.

The first episode, in which a child was found murdered on the patio of her family home, attracted a 20.4% share of the 9pm-10pm audience.

A repeat of the first episode of series three of 'New Tricks' won the 9pm-10pm primetime slot for BBC One with 6m viewers and a 24.8% share of the audience.

The penultimate episode of 'Dragon's Den', which included pitches for recycled jewellery boxes, fat-free curry sauces and a radiator made to look like a skirting board, drew 3.7m viewers to BBC Two and a 15.3% share of the 9pm to 10pm audience.

The first episode of Five's new series 'Extreme Fishing with Robson Green' attracted 1.2m viewers and a 4.8% share.

Viewers tuned in to see Green river fishing with tribesman and big game hooking on pleasure cruisers in Costa Rica.

It beat the fourth and final part of Channel 4's weekly 'Kevin McCloud and the Big Town Plan' series, which netted 959,000 viewers and a 3.9% share. Including Channel 4+1 it reached 1m and a 4.1% share.

Sky 1's new series of 'Ross Kemp on Gangs', which last night saw the former EastEnder discovering the rivalries between black and Latino gangs in Los Angeles, pulled in 369,000 viewers, failing to reach the highs of 'Ross Kemp in Afghanistan' earlier this year.

The last series of 'Ross Kemp on Gangs', shown last October, averaged 400,000 viewers.

Later in the evening, 'Big Brother' attracted 2.6m viewers and a 14.4% share of the 10pm-11pm audience. Including Channel 4+1 ratings it managed 2.7m and a 15% share.

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