Christie's winning run boosts audience ratings

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The Independent Online
LINFORD CHRISTIE'S winning run in the 100 metres final in Stuttgart 10 days ago helped boost BBC 1's ratings, at a critical juncture, to their best for months, writes Michael Leapman.

It was watched by 11.5 million viewers, the third-highest audience for any single BBC 1 programme in its week, exceeded only by two editions of EastEnders.

Figures published yesterday by the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board reveal that in the week ended 15 August BBC 1 claimed 33.2 per cent of the total television audience. Two months ago, when the first week of Wimbledon made many viewers switch to BBC 2, the BBC 1 share was down to below 30 per cent, prompting press speculation about a long- term decline.

The figures will cause concern at ITV, with Channel 3's share dropping to 36.8 per cent from a high of over 40 per cent.

This is a big boost for the BBC on the eve of British television's most competitive autumn ever. For ITV, it is the first autumn schedule since the franchises changed in January.

The BBC will want to look good as the Government prepares to decide its future after its charter expires in 1996.

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