ITV shunts its 'ironic' soap to graveyard slot

The critically acclaimed soap opera
Night and Day has been relegated to a late-night slot by ITV1 after its innovative style failed to attract viewers.

The critically acclaimed soap opera Night and Day has been relegated to a late-night slot by ITV1 after its innovative style failed to attract viewers.

Hailed as the first post-modern soap opera when it was launched last October, Night and Day was praised for breaking new ground in its filming techniques, use of pop music and ironic spirit.

Produced by Granada, the show, starring Lysette Anthony and Glynis Barber, was shown three times a week at 5.05pm, with one late-night omnibus. It attracted slightly more than two million viewers for its teatime shows when launched, but numbers quickly fell to an average of just one million, a 9 per cent audience share. The late-night episode did little better, with an audience of 1.2 million and a 15 per cent share.

ITV1 confirmed yesterday that the teatime shows were being dropped, and from 11 April it will be shown only once a week at 11pm on Thursdays.

The channel said it was impossible to say why it had failed to get the viewing figures needed, but said it had won a cult audience in a highly competitive slot.

The programme was up against BBC2's The Weakest Link and Channel 4's Richard and Judy show. Some ITV executives felt it was "too weird" for such a mainstream slot.

Yesterday, Tony Woods, ITV's head of continuing drama series, said: "The series has already established itself as cult viewing for young adults and repositioning it with a first showing in the evening will build on its appeal."

The drama is expected to run for another year as 60 episodes have already been filmed.

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