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Return of Big Brother brings 3m viewers to Channel 5

Channel 5's second series of 'Big Brother' kicked off with a peak audience of 3 million viewers last night, just below the 3.2 million who watched 2011's launch episode, according to unofficial overnight figures.

Big Brother: returns with presenter Brian Dowling

Big Brother: returns with presenter Brian Dowling

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‘Big Brother: The Live Launch’ had an average of 2.63 million viewers on Channel 5 and Channel 5 HD between 9pm and 10.45pm, a 12% share. An additional average of 76,300 viewers watched the show on Channel 5 +1.

During the crucial 9pm hour, Channel 5 and Channel 5 HD had an average audience of 2.72 million viewers, making it the second most watched channel after the BBC One legal drama ‘Silk’.

Channel 5’s peak audience of 3 million viewers was achieved across Channel 5 and Channel 5 HD, but if Channel 5 +1 is included the peak was 3.1 million viewers. Channel 5 +1 was launched in December 2011 and so last year’s peak of 3.2 million was achieved on Channel 5 and Channel 5 HD.

This series of ‘Big Brother’ and the planned subsequent series of ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ is sponsored by the Henkel-owned hair colour brand Schwarzkopf in a £2m multimedia deal.

Prior to the live launch Channel 5 aired ‘Big Brother: The Auditions’, which featured presenter Jamie West’s quest to find a wild card housemate who could potentially enter the house later this week.

‘Big Brother: The Auditions’ had an average audience of 1.20 million between 8pm and 9pm, a 5.2% share of the audience on Channel 5 and Channel 5 HD. An additional 24,400 watched ‘Big Brother: The Auditions’ on Channel 5 +1.

After the main show the Emma Willis-fronted ‘Big Brother’s Bit on the Side’ attracted an average audience of 850,700 viewers, a 7.0% share, between 10.45pm and 11.45pm on Channel 5 and Channel 5 HD.

In January the return of 'Celebrity Big Brother' got an average audience of 3.42 million viewers although this was down from the 5.08 million who tuned in to watch the August launch of 2011’s show.

The most watched show during the 9pm hour was ‘Silk’ with an average of 4.73 million viewers across BBC One and BBC One HD, a 19.9% share.

ITV’s one-off wildlife documentary ‘Martin Clunes: The Lemurs of Madagascar’ could only manage 1.59 million viewers on ITV1 and ITV1 HD between 9pm and 10pm, a 6.7% share.

An additional 7,330 viewers watched the show on ITV1 +1.

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