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Royal Variety Performance pulls in 7.5m viewers

LONDON - BBC One's 'The Royal Variety Performance 2008' proved once again that talent shows continue to draw big audiences, with 7.5m viewers tuning in last night, according to unofficial overnight figures.

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The programmed featured performances from the 'The X Factor's' Leona Lewis, 'Britain's Got Talent' winner George Sampson and the victors of 'Last Choir Standing', Only Men Aloud. It captured a 31.5% share of the audience in the 7.30pm-10pm slot.

US import 'Heroes' brought BBC Two 1.8m viewers and a 7.4% share of the audience between 9pm-10pm.

ITV1's 'Police, Camera, Action: Drink Driving Special' netted 3.7m viewers and a 15.6% share of the audience in the same slot.

Five's live coverage of Aston Villa's 3-1 defeat away to German side Hamburg in the UEFA Cup  was watched by 1.2m viewers and a 5.2% share of the audience across the 7.30pm-10.15pm slot.

Channel 4 offered viewers two Christmas-themed cookery shows, with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's 'Christmas at River Cottage' cooking up 2.1m viewers and an 8.6% share of the audience between 8pm-9pm. Including viewers on Channel 4+1, it had 2.4m viewers and a 9.7% share of the audience.

It was followed by 'Willie's Perfect Chocolate Christmas', featuring the Devon-based chocolatier Willie Harcourt-Cooze, with 1.6m viewers and a 6.6% share of the audience. The ratings rose to 1.7m viewers including Channel 4+1.

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