Flagship BBC channel, BBC One, has just come out of its best start to the year in a decade. Final consolidated data from January 1 to March 31 gave BBC One a 23.3 share in all hours and a 25.2 share in peak. Among the highlights were a live week of long-running soap EastEnders to mark the serial’s 30th anniversary; the return of the FA Cup to the channel; fundraiser Comic Relief; and primetime competition The Voice UK which today was nominated for its first ever Bafta TV Award. BBC One itself is the most nominated channel this year. On the drama side, returning series Last Tango In Halifax, Silent Witness and Death In Paradise each had their most successful runs to date with Call The Midwife (10.35M average viewers) the most watched drama series of the year so far across all channels. New series Poldark has been a hit on Sunday nights with a consolidated average of 8.1M viewers. It was confirmed today that it has been ordered for a second season. The first season will air on PBS beginning in June. Here’s a trailer:
In other BBC news, ousted Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson will return to the BBC to guest host satirical quiz program, Have I Got News for You on April 24. A spokesperson for the BBC said, “Jeremy’s contract has not been renewed on Top Gear but he isn’t banned from appearing on the BBC.” He’s previously hosted the show eight times. After his “fracas” with a Top Gear producer last month, a decision was made by the BBC not to renew his contract. On Tuesday, police said there was “no need for further action” against Clarkson following the altercation. Top Gear Live arena shows are to go on as planned in the coming months, although they will be stripped of BBC branding. The TV series is expected to go forward per the BBC, but it’s not clear if co-hsots James May and Richard Hammond will remain.
ITV has renewed sleuthing series Lewis for a 9th season. Kevin Whatley and Laurence Fox will reprise their roles as Detectives Robbie Lewis and James Hathaway as they investigate Oxford’s most complex murders, alongside Angela Griffin as Detective Sergeant Lizzie Maddox. The new season will go into production next month in and around Oxford. From ITV Studios, Lewis will pick up with the arrival of a new, high-flying Chief Superintendent who soon clashes with Lewis over the latter’s more traditional approach to detective work. Producer is Chris Burt, who has been at the helm since the series first screened in 2006. Executive producer is Mammoth Screen’s Michele Buck, who continues to produce the series for ITV Studios. ITV Studios Global Entertainment distributes Lewis internationally.
ESPN Latin America and ESPN Brazil will be the exclusive South America rights holders for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England. This is the first time that ESPN Brazil has been appointed as an exclusive rights holder for the tournament, ahead of Rugby Sevens’ debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Both ESPN Latin America and ESPN Brazil will broadcast live coverage of at least 16 matches and will also deliver a comprehensive TV, digital, mobile and radio offering — an unprecedented broadcast footprint for rugby in South America. ESPN Latin America will also air all of the matches in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. The tournament will feature two South American teams for the first time since 2003, with Uruguay claiming a place to join Argentina at the event.