No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency kicks off with 5.2m viewers

LONDON - BBC One adaptation 'The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency' returned for a six-part series following its successful pilot last Easter, with 5.2m viewers tuning in last night, but the series debut was handily beaten by ITV1's 'Dancing On Ice' skate-off, according to unofficial overnight figures.

Botswana's first lady detective Mma Precious Ramotswe, who uses her understanding of human nature rather than any forensic knowledge to solve mysteries, pulled in a 20.3% share of the 9pm-10pm audience for BBC One.

Based on Alexander McCall Smith's novels, the series stars Jill Scott as Mma Ramotswe and Desmond Dube as her irrepressible hairdressing neighbour BK.

Earlier in the evening, the series finale of 'Lark Rise to Candleford', which saw postman Thomas Brown finally marry his timid bride Miss Ellison, netted 5.8m viewers and a 21.5% share of the 8pm-9pm audience for BBC One.

ITV1's 'Dancing On Ice' ruled Sunday's night's ratings once again, attracting 9.2m viewers and a 36.6% share of the 7.15pm to 8pm audience for its first show of the night.

The skate-off, which saw 'Loose Women' presenter Coleen Nolan voted out after the judges branded her routine "boring", drew 7.9m viewers and a 31% share of the 9.15pm-10pm audience.

The third part of 'Monty Halls' Great Escape', which saw Halls going in search of basking sharks with the help of a friend who spots them from a paraglider, netted 2.6m viewers and a 9.8% share of the 9pm-10pm audience.

'Peter Kay: Raider of the Pop Charts', looking at the making of Peter Kay's hit Comic Relief video 'Amarillo' with comment from Kay, Michael Parkinson and Richard Curtis, won 2.3m viewers and an 8.7% share of the audience for Channel 4. Including Channel 4+1 it reached 2.6m viewers.

Five's airing of Will Ferrell comedy 'Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby' attracted 700,000 viewers and a 2.9% share of the 8pm-10.30pm audience.

Friday night was dominated by Comic Relief's main event which ran on BBC One from 7pm to 3am the following morning, with stars such as Kate Moss and Robbie Williams trying their hand at comedy sketches.

It hit its peak number of viewers with 12.7m at 9pm-9.15pm and a peak share of viewing of 55.9% at midnight, when 5.6m were still watching.

A record total of £58m was raised by the end of the night, but the programming continued into Saturday evening with the finale of 'Let's Dance for Comic Relief' at 7.15pm-8.35pm.

With 7.9m viewers tuning in to see comedian Robert Webb win the programme with his leotard-clad impression of Jennifer Beals' routine from 80s movie 'Flashdance', the programme scored a 35.3% share.

ITV1's line-up was impacted by its success; at 6.45pm-7.45pm quiz show 'The Colour of Money' managed 4.1m viewers and a 20.2% share and at 7.45pm-9pm 'Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway' netted 5.2m viewers and a 22.6% share.

Slightly later in the evening BBC One's 'Casualty' reached 5.9m viewers, enough for a 27.1% share.

ITV1 offered Hugh Grant film 'About A Boy' from 9pm, garnering an audience of 2.3m (11.5%). It was up against Channel 4 film 'I, Robot', which drew 1.4 viewers (7.3%). Another 145,000 watched on Channel 4+1.

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