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EastEnders special pulls 15 million

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A special EastEnders, which saw hardman Phil Mitchell shot, helped BBC1 to its best Thursday peaktime in a year.

EastEnders: The Big Day, which aired between 19.40 and 20.20, took 15.4 million (58%), according to early figures. A special edition of The Weakest Link featuring members of the cast averaged 10.7 million (44%) in the forty minutes preceding - the quiz show's best ever audience.

Over on ITV, Emmerdale managed a meagre 7.3 million (29%). Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? was also beaten, averaging 8.6 million (33%) for the hour starting 20.00.

A new series of Ballykissangel averaged 7.7 million for the Beeb starting 20.20. Ellen MacArthur: Sailing Through Hell followed on at 21.10, drawing an audience of 6 million (25%). On ITV, meanwhile, Holiday Airport 2 took 8 million.

In the battle of the news bulletins, the BBC won again, with the BBC Ten O'Clock News taking 5.9 million against ITV News At Ten's 5.4 million.

Overall, the BBC averaged a 37% share between 18.00 and 22.30, up from 33% last week, whilst ITV dropped 3 points to 33%.

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