Last night’s election debate on ITV1 between Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg and David Cameron was seen by over 9 million viewers. The debate between the three leaders of the main political parties was the first in television history in the UK and ran for 90 minutes on ITV; two further debates between the three will follow on the BBC and Sky before the General Election in May. Updated to include soap ratings which saw EastEnders slip behind at 7.30 as it clashed with Emmerdale but the BBC Three of the London soap pushes the overall ratings for last night’s episode ahead of its Yorkshire rivals.
Last night’s election debate on ITV1 between Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg and David Cameron was seen by 9.5 million viewers with a peak of 10.2 million at 9pm. The debate between the three leaders of the main political parties was the first in television history in the UK and ran for 90 minutes on ITV; two further debates between the three will follow on the BBC and Sky before the General Election in May. Depending on which paper you read or which website you visit today all three leaders have been declared the winners of the debate. While tabloid The Sun admits Nick Clegg was the winner of some polls the newspaper claims its readers hail David Cameron as their “future Prime Minister”. ATV News, having watched the debate, however disagrees – quite clearly during many points of the debate Cameron looked most uncomfortable as both Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown challenged him repeatedly – Brown especially challenging Cameron over education and policing funding. Although challenged by Brown several times on the issue of funding for the Police and Education Cameron dodged the question never giving a direct answer.
Because of the election debate on ITV1 rating figures for other shows airing opposite suffered somewhat; satirical quiz-show Have I Got News For You had 4.3 million viewers. The series returned two weeks ago in its new Thursday evening slot meaning Paul Merton and Ian Hislop didn’t have the opportunity to make light of last nights debate – they’ll have to wait until next week’s edition. At 9.30 the critically acclaimed and award winning Outnumbered had 4.6 million viewers.
The election debate meant a slight change in ITV’s schedule for the evening with Emmerdale airing at 7pm for an hour and Coronation Street moving forward to 8.00pm. The shuffle in the schedules had an impact on ratings with the hour-long Emmerdale, which went against EastEnders in the second half, had 6.5 million viewers while Coronation Street had 8.3 million viewers at 8pm. EastEnders at 7.30pm on BBC One had 5.9 million viewers – suffering dramatically because of the clash with Emmerdale. The BBC Three repeat at 10pm added a further 1.4 million viewers giving an overall combined figure of 7.3 million viewers. – which does therefore push it beyond Emmerdale. Hollyoaks on Channel Four at 6.30pm had 1.1 million viewers while daytime soap Doctors had 1.62 million viewers.