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Britain's Got Talent returns to ITV1 with 10.3m viewers

LONDON - More than 10m viewers tuned in to watch the return of ITV1's 'Britain's Got Talent' on Saturday night -- the highest opening audience figures for the series to date, according to unofficial overnight figures.

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'Britain's Got Talent', in its third year, pulled in a 45% share of the audience from 7.45pm-9.15pm, an increase of 17% on 2008's opening episode figures, which hit 8.8m.

The show reached a peak of 11.8m viewers as acts like 47-year-old Susan Boyle, who shares a flat with her cat, surprised and impressed Simon Cowell and the other judges with her rendition of 'I Dreamed a Dream' from 'Les Miserables'.

Other acts to wow the judges included dance act Flawless, which received a standing ovation from Cowell.

The show avoided a clash with BBC One's 'Doctor Who' Easter special, which was screened at 6.45-7.45pm and was watched by 8.4m viewers.

Featuring former 'EastEnders' actress Michelle Ryan as catsuited thief Lady Christina, 'Doctor Who' took a 39.5% share of viewing.

ITV1's answer to the Doctor, sci-fi meets dinosaurs romp 'Primeval', is down to an audience of 2.7m and a 14.3% at 6.15-7.15pm.

In contrast BBC One's 'Robin Hood' attracted an average audience of 5.3m or a 23% share of the audience despite being up against 'Britain's Got Talent'.

It was followed at 8.30pm-9.20pm by 'National Lottery: 1 vs 100', which earned 4m viewers and a 17% share.

On Sunday the night's big audience again went to ITV1 as detective drama 'Lewis' secured 6m viewers and a 25.1% share at 8-10pm.

It outperformed BBC One's 'Antiques Roadshow', which got 4.3m viewers and an 18.4% share at 8pm, and 'The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency', which got 3m viewers and a 12.1% share at 9-10pm.

BBC Two's five-hour long Masters golf coverage from 7pm peaked with 3.1m viewers just after 10pm, but averaged 2.3m and a 12.7%.

On Channel 4 'The Secret Millionaire' delivered 2.5m viewers and a 10.3% share, with another 209,000 catching it on Channel 4+1.

Sky One's showcase original children's drama, 'Skellig', starring Tim Roth as a fairy tale creature discovered by a boy who has moved to a new house, managed 936,000 viewers and a 4.2% share of the 7-9.05pm audience.

On Friday digital channel Dave scored a major success with its revival of classic BBC Two comedy 'Red Dwarf'. The first episode of 'Red Dwarf: Back to Earth' brought in a huge 2.4m viewers at 9-9.30pm. This beat Five's 2m viewers for 'NCIS' and was not far off the 3.6m viewers for the slot's best-rated programme, 'Doc Martin' on ITV1.

The successive two episodes of 'Red Dwarf' on Saturday and Sunday each manageed 1.2m viewers.


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