Returning Heroes boosts BBC Two's audience

LONDON - BBC Two's US import 'Heroes' was watched by 3.7m viewers on its return for a second series last night, pushing ITV1 into third place at 9pm, according to unofficial overnight figures.

The US writer's strike meant season two was reduced to 11 episodes compared with the 23-episode run of season one. Season three is set to air in the US in September.

Last night's ratings were not as good as the opening episode of 'Heroes' first season on BBC Two, which was watched by 4.4m viewers in July last year, after heavy promotion by the corporation.

However, they helped the BBC to squeeze out the commercial channels from the top two spots at 9pm. 'Crimewatch' won the slot for BBC One with 4.7m and a viewing share of 21.1%; 'Heroes' share was 16.4%.

ITV1 was in third place with homegrown commission 'Britain's Rich List: Giving It Away', in which 'Dragon's Den' businessman Duncan Bannatyne examined the charitable record of the British millionaires set to feature in this weekend's annual Sunday Times Rich List. The programme earned 2.8m viewers and a 12.2% share.

Five's US import 'House' was watched by 2m, equivalent to a 8.7% share of viewing.

Channel 4's documentary on the shocking sport of primary school age kids fighting in organised competitions, 'Strictly Baby Fight Club', drew 1.2m viewers and a 5.5% share. Including the ratings from Channel 4+1, it drew 1.4m and a 6.2% share.

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