No script... and no viewers

Shaky start for Merton's improv show

Paul Merton’s new improvised comedy Thank God You're Here has proved a ratings disappointment for ITV1.

Just 2.9 million viewers tuned into Saturday’s launch show, which featured guests Ben Miller and Fern Britton, despite its primetime 9.05pm slot. In contrast, the BBC’s The One and Only, starting at 9.20pm, attracted 4.8million viewers.

With just over 12 per cent of all viewers, the sluggish performance of Thank God You're Here means that in that timeslot ITV was even beaten by Five, which started the fourth series of CSI: NY with 3.2million viewers.

Not far behind was a repeat showing of BBC2's Have I Got News for You, which also featured Paul Merton, with 2.5million viewers, and Channel 4’s Shallow Hal with 2.4million.

On Sunday night, the decision to launch the seventh series of Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps proved a wise one for BBC Three.

806,000 viewers tuned in to the 9pm show – the best audience the programme has ever attracted. A further 291,000 people watched a repeat at 11.45pm.

The only comedy to rate higher on BBC Three was the launch of series two of Little Britain.

Published: 14 Jan 2008

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