Trending: Here's what you probably weren't watching on Sunday night
What are the other channels supposed to do when we're all glued to Olympics on the BBC? Give up, says Gillian Orr
It has all the hallmarks of a classic grudge match: high stakes and a bitter, long-term rivalry. However this particular clash is not going down in a stadium in Stratford, it's the on-going battle of ratings between the BBC and ITV. And with its Olympics coverage, Auntie is thrashing the competition.
Sunday saw ITV1 have its worst ever single day ratings performance, its all-day audience share even being eclipsed by BBC3 for the first time ever. ITV1 is also understood to have suffered its worst week on record.
But how do you take on the Olympics in a country gripped with sporting fever? Let's take a look at the competition. In the BBC's corner are the world's finest sportsmen and women competing in our very own capital. ITV appear to have thought its best strategy was to send in some of the world's finest detectives.
On Sunday night you could have watched in awe as Usain Bolt made history on the BBC by breaking the 100 metres Olympic record, streaking down the track in just 9.63 seconds. Alternatively you could have seen Detective Inspector Jack Frost's swansong in the two-part finale of A Touch of Frost (see above). A repeat that aired two years ago. Have ITV just given up? Surely it's the scheduling equivalent of putting, well, David Jason into the starting blocks with the Jamaican sprinter. Predictably enough, at 9.50pm on Sunday, 1.6 million were tuned into ITV while 19.4 million were glued to the BBC watching Bolt.
On Sunday afternoon, as the BBC showed Andy Murray take Olympic gold by denying Roger Federer a second victory in as many months on Centre Court, ITV rolled out Jessica Fletcher (Murder, She Wrote) and Columbo.
ITV was reluctant to talk about its scheduling strategy when approached for an interview. On being asked if detective dramas had proved popular with sport dodgers in the past, it merely stated that its soaps were still being shown and, yes, they have put on a number of repeats.
Saturday evening, dubbed the greatest night in British athletics history, saw 16.3 million watch Jessica Ennis' triumphant finale to the heptathlon, while 17.1 million saw Mo Farah's gold-winning 10,000 metre performance. Had you switched over to ITV you would have been greeted with, that's right, more crime-solving. Repeats of Agatha Christie's Marple and Midsomer Murders made up its Saturday night entertainment. Although it should be noted that elsewhere on "Super Saturday" other competitions were taking place: Made in Chelsea's Hugo and Binky took on The Million Pound Drop (Channel 4), while contestants fought it out in Big Brother over on Five. No doubt the BBC wasn't sweating it.
So hooked is the nation with Olympic coverage that presumably ITV could schedule a new series of The X-Factor , followed by Ken Barlow's death in Coronation Street and some porn, and everyone would still prefer to watch the Greco-Roman wrestling quarter finals. It's almost enough to make you feel sorry for them. They never stood a chance.
9.63 seconds: What was on BBC1 and ITV1 at exactly 9.50pm on Sunday?
BBC1 – 100m final
Steve Cram: "Bolt not very quickly out of the blocks... Powell was the quickest. But Bolt is getting into his stride alongside Gatlin. Here comes Bolt - he's pulling away...
(Man in yellow vest deliberately smashes self into finish line at full speed.)
ITV1 – A Touch of Frost
(Jack Frost arrives at his wedding)
Police officer: "Here you are Jack." (Hands him corsage)
Jack Frost: "Oh, thank you."
(Man in red Land Rover deliberately smashes car into Jack's at full speed.)
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
- 4 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 5 Pastafarian former porn star Asia Lemmon allowed to wear colander in driving licence photo
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Better Call Saul: Breaking Bad spin-off gets release date, logo and ominous new trailer
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Angelina Jolie confirms retirement from acting: 'I've never been comfortable on-screen'
Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine