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'Elf' brings in 6m to Channel 4

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'Elf' brings in 6m to Channel 4
Christmas comedy movie Elf was a huge success for Channel 4 last night, drawing more than 6 million viewers at its peak.

The film, which stars Will Ferrell and James Caan, averaged 5.26m (22%) for the channel between 6.15pm and 8pm. A further 510k (2.2%) watched on timeshift service Channel 4+1.

At 8pm, a repeat of Peter Kay's Britain's Got The Pop Factor and Possibly A New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly On Ice drew 2.71m (10.1%) over two hours. On its first broadcast in October, the reality show spoof had pulled in over 6 million.

At 10pm a new series of The Sunday Night Project, guest hosted by Tom Jones, opened with 1.6m (8.1%).

Overall Channel 4's primetime share was 13.1%, ahead of ITV1 and up significantly on last week's 8.5%.

ITV1 had success in the late afternoon with a screening of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, which averaged 3.65m (18.3%) over three hours from 4pm. However at 7pm the audience plummeted to just 1.79m (7.3%) for the penultimate episode of Britannia High, then rose to the channel's all-day high of 4.64m (17.3%) for a new episode of The Royal. A repeat of The Old Curiosity Shop had 2.49m (11%) between 9pm and 11pm.

ITV1's primetime share was down from 18.1% to 11.9%, putting the channel in fourth place of the five terrestrials.

BBC One was first with a share of 24.2%, down from 26.1%. Its coverage of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year - this year won by cycler Chris Hoy - averaged a strong 6.72m (26.1%) between 7pm and 9pm. The final episode of detective drama Wallander followed with a decent 5.35m (21.7%) over 90 minutes.

On BBC Two, a repeat of Coast delivered 2.01m (7.5%) at 8pm, then Top Gear - pushed back to a 9pm slot - had a reliably strong 6.65m (25.1%). Match of the Day 2 followed with 2.81m (13.4%). Overall the channel averaged 13.4% through primetime, down slightly on last week's 14.1%.

Five's lineup of back-to-back movies put in a solid performance throughout primetime, helping the channel improve its share from 5.5% to 6.7%. War thriller Firefox, starring Clint Eastwood, had 1.39m (6.2%) from 5.15pm, then Adam Sandler romcom 50 First Dates kept 1.81m (6.8%) until 10pm. Lethal Weapon 4 followed with 1.11m (8.5%).

The top multichannel audience of the day was 1.38m (8.7%) for Sky Sports 1's coverage of Chelsea vs West Ham from 3.30pm. The preceding game between Portsmouth and Newcastle had 877k (8.8%).

A rerun of The X Factor final delivered 675k (3.5%) to ITV2 from 5.30pm (+1: 100k, 0.5%), then the later results show had 482k (2%).

E4's new episode of Desperate Housewives took 569k (3.2%) in the 10pm hour (+1: 148k, 1.6%) and More4's Come Dine With Me marathon peaked with 535k (2.7%) for the 6.15pm episode.

Ratings data supplied by Attentional

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