Bette Midler Wins Her Time Slot With One Night Only Special

Midler narrowly beats off Hammond for Monday night glory
16 Dec 2014 | Niall Johnson


Monday night brought the end to Richard Hammond‘s latest solo venture outside of the safety of Top Gear as his dramatic series about weather wrapped up after three excitinginstalments.

Throughout, Wild Weather with Richard Hammond (BBC One, 9pm) featured grandiose and bombastic orchestral music that would be more at home in Inception orThe Dark Knight, leading viewers to believe that something exciting was actually happening, instead of Hammond basically fronting a Blue Peter special with an increased travel budget.

After two epic episodes in which Hammond looked intensely at wind and water, the final chapter in his weather trilogy saw Hammond explore temperature, with the presenter devising a bunch of superfluous Top Gear-style stunts to prove his simple points.

Kicking off with 2.8 million viewers two weeks ago, before falling slightly to 2.5 million last week after a Royal Variety clash, last night saw the show reclaim its old glory days with 2.8 million and a 13% share joining in on the educational ‘roller-coaster’.

Try as it might, the planet’s brutal elements didn’t have enough power to fight off the force of The Divine Miss M and her one-off ITV show.

Kind of like the broadcaster’s An Audience With… format but without the over familiarity,Bette Midler: One Night Only (9pm) managed to secure the prime time slot by a hair’s breadth. Featuring songs from her back catalogue and new album, the intimate evening with the American legend beat off Hammond and his ferocious force by just 6,000 viewers.

Just in time to give viewers the perfect stocking-filler idea for unsuspecting mums all over the country, the sixty minute album advert brought in 2.8 million viewers and a 13% share for ITV.

Elsewhere, Channel 4’s Skint (9pm) still attempted to matter, no doubt looking back at the storm of controversy that was the Benefits Street backlash with a warm glow. The fourth episode in the second run also brought the series to a close, with the previous three episodes hovering around the 1 million mark.

Last night, an inflated audience of 1.6 million viewers and an 8% share tuned in for final, somewhat behind the last episode in the first series’ audience if 2.4 million viewers back in June 2013 and representing an overall year on year fall of -50%.

Although that was way before Channels 4 and 5 began clogging up their schedules with a glut of poverty-based programming. Last night, the outrage-bait content only managed to generate 1,606 tweets.

Over on Channel 5, Batman and Catwoman finally got it on, although they were still teenagers without kicking costumes. The tenth episode of Gotham brought in 1.1 million viewers and a 5% share, Channel 5’s biggest hit of the day.

At the same time on BBC Three, Russell Brand was back trying to feel important, as his attempts at political relevance continued on Russell Brand: End the Drugs War (9pm).

With his Victorian opium den-caricature running thin and that much-muted Hollywood career fading before his eyes, Brand was whipping up tabloid-grabbing sentiment with Nick Clegg, securing 519,000 viewers and 3% share.

A little earlier in BBC One, Panorama (8:30pm) brought the tale of The Innocent Serial Killer?, about a former nurse who was convicted of murdering elderly patients in 2008. 2.4 million viewers watched as reporter Mark Daly uncovered evidence to suggest Norris was the victim of chance, securing an 11% share.

Earlier at 7pm on ITV, Aaron dragged Robert along to the Dales’ premier gay bar, as the Sugden family drama continued in Emmerdale. 6.2 million viewers joined the lads on their jaunt out of TV’s most dangerous village, resulting in a 30% share.

Over on BBC One, the Nick Cotton-shaped penny finally dropped for the Mitchells, as head of EastEnders‘ famous family Phil tired to run Dot’s son out of town. A little under 7 million viewers tuned in for the confrontation, netting a 31% share and BBC One’s biggest hit.

It was the first of two trips to Coronation Street (ITV, 7:30pm) that brought in the day’s biggest audience, as the soap’s latest bad boy began to ruffle a few feathers on the cobbles. 7.5 million viewers tuned in to see Kylie’s ex, Callum, pop into the salon for a chit chat, securing a 36% share.

The second slice of ‘everyday’ Manchester life at 8:30pm brought in 6.7 million viewers and a 29% share.

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