So where did those 900,000 mysterious Spooks viewers go?

 by Martin Belam, 25 October 2007

Yesterday Stephen Brook was reporting in the Media section of The Guardian that BBC1 Islamic propaganda vehicle Spooks had lost nearly a million viewers in a week. He put it down to the effect of the Champions League on ITV1

"Arsenal's bravura win in the Champions League last night attracted nearly 6 million viewers to ITV1 - and BBC1 spy drama Spooks was hit hard.

The audience for Arsenal's 7-0 victory over Slavia Prague, peaked at 5.9 million at 8pm, a 25% share, according to unofficial overnights.

The ITV1 coverage, from 7.30pm until 10pm, averaged 4.8 million and a 21% share.

As a result Spooks lost nearly 1 million viewers on its series opener last week.

The espionage drama attracted an audience of 5.4 million in the 9pm hour, an impressive share of 23% but 900,000 viewers down on last week, when it had an audience of 6.3 million viewers."

And who am I to argue with his analysis?

However, despite not being either a professional journalist or a spy trained to investigate things, I thought I'd cross-check the figures against the ratings for the previous week, using the very same Guardian Media section as my primary resource.

Lo and behold, the previous week Chris Tryhorn wrote in Media Guardian:

"BBC1's spy drama Spooks made a strong return last night, as 6.3 million viewers tuned into the first episode of the show's sixth series.

With a 28% share of the audience between 9pm and 10pm, it comfortably won the slot for BBC1 over ITV1's documentary about the storm of 1987, according to unofficial overnight ratings.

Both the overall viewing figure and the share were up on Spooks' performance in its previous series, aired in autumn 2006, when its 10-part run averaged 5.7 million and a 24% share.

Last night's instalment, in which the MI5 operatives had to deal with a plague unleashed on London, had 200,000 more viewers than the finale of the fifth series.

A premiere of the second episode of the new series on BBC3 pulled in 907,000 viewers between 10.30pm and 11.30pm, a 9% share of the multichannel audience."

Whilst I'm aware that it is received wisdom that nobody watches BBC3, I couldn't help wonder if there might be any statistical correlation between the 900,000 viewers who didn't watch Spooks Series 6 Episode 2 on BBC1 yesterday with the 907,000 viewers who did watch Spooks Series 6 Episode 2 on BBC3 the previous week.

Just a thought...


And just another little thing:

"Arsenal's bravura win in the Champions League last night attracted nearly 6 million viewers to ITV1"

Er. No it didn't. Man Utd's win got those viewers - much as it pains me. The magnificent Arsenal were over on ITV4. Little things...

Sorry - I should have mentioned that I know you didn't get the story wrong. Mediaguardian did. They've corrected it now, perhaps after I told them.

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