DAVE ALLEN made his much- heralded return to prime-time television (ITV 7 January) with an audience of 12.65 million. The audience had dropped the following week to 10.55m. The drop may not be as discouraging as it looks: many shows' ratings dip and level out slightly lower after initial publicity. Notes and Queries with Clive Anderson (BBC2 Thur) is in the same position: it started on 3.07m and dropped in its second week to 2.67m. Both programmes will be aiming for the sort of gradual ratings increase picked up by Drop the Dead Donkey (C4 Thur), which accumulated viewers to average 3.5m in its last series and hit 4.38m for the first of the present series.
Another comedy show doing particularly well is Rab C Nesbitt (BBC2 Fri): a repeat run is still pulling in audiences of over 4m, and at the last count was BBC2's seventh most-watched programme. Channel 4's Whose Line Is It Anyway? is presently picking up just over 2.5m.
BBC1's comedy output is strongest in the sitcom department. So Haunt Me (Sun) presently tops the bill (10.02m) followed by As Time Goes By (Sun) with 9.81m.
Ratings refer to week ending 17 Jan