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'Big Bang Theory' E4 return watched by almost 1m

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The cast of The Big Bang Theory

© Channel 4

The Big Bang Theory's return to UK TV was met by nearly a million viewers on Thursday night, early viewing figures indicate.

In a strong evening for E4, the fifth season premiere of the US sitcom pulled in 746k (3.2%) at 8pm as well as 220k on +1, an audience roughly in line with last year's premiere.

The X Factor USA logged 605k (2.6%) for ITV2 over two hours until 10pm, adding a timeshifted audience of 148k.

Elsewhere on digital channels, Russell Howard's Good News dipped to 660k (4.1%) on BBC Three at 10.30pm.

Keith Lemon 'The Rules' book signing at Selfridges, Manchester
Celebrity Juice also shed viewers but kept its crown as the most-watched multichannel show. 1.4m (7.3%) watched the Keith Lemon vehicle at 10pm and a further 253k caught the panel show on ITV2 +1, down on last week's all-time high of 2.1m.

Despite facing ITV's soaps, BBC One's Panorama achieved its best audience all year. Richard Bilton's 'Britain on the Fiddle' drew an impressive 4.48m (18.6%). ITV1's current affairs counterpart Tonight managed just 2.26m (10%).

November's instalment of Crimewatch mustered 4.36m (18.9%) in the 9pm hour, after which Question Time's landmark edition from parliament was watched by 2.47m (20.7%) from 10.45pm.

Joanna Lumley's Greek Odyssey climbed to a respectable 3.51m (15.1%) on ITV1, adding 171k on timeshift.

BB 2011: Day 53: Louise eggs Jay
On Channel 5, the latest Big Brother commanded 1.29m (7.7%) at 10pm, prior to which Tottenham's trip to Russia in the Europa League scored 1.25m (5.4%) from 7.30pm.

Channel 4's criticially-acclaimed drama series Top Boy concluded with 990k (5.6%) at 10pm (+1: 181k), while Beeny's Restoration (8pm) and Educating Essex (9pm) also achieved steady audiences, with 1.49m (6.2%) and 1.53m (6.6%) respectively. Both factual shows also impressed on timeshift, grabbing an extra 361k and 178k on Channel 4 +1.

Over on BBC Two, Great British Food Revival cooked up 1.48m (6.1%) in the 8pm hour, then one-off feature film A Life in a Day interested 813k (3.7%) from 9pm.

Overall, BBC One beat ITV1 in primetime with 21.7% against 19% (+1: 0.6%). BBC Two claimed third place with 5.9%, ahead of Channel 4's 5.5% (+1: 1%), and Channel 5's 5.2%.

BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional

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