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Hell's Kitchen sinks to 2.5m as 'The Apprentice' hogs audience

LONDON - ITV1's second helping of 'Hell's Kitchen' suffered an exodus of viewers to BBC One's 'The Apprentice', which pulled in an audience of 7m, according to unofficial overnight figures.

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The Marco Pierre White celebrity cooking competition had a strong start on Monday night.

The first look at the contestants, who include 'Young Ones' actor Adrian Edmondson and Gary Linker's model girlfriend Danielle Bux, took the 9pm-10pm slot's biggest audience with 5m viewers and a 20.8% share.

However, last night it came off second best to BBC One's juggernaut business reality show with a gap of 4.5m viewers. The difference in share was 28% versus 10%.

Four episodes in, 'The Apprentice' registered its second-lowest audience so far in the series. It began with 8.1m and hit a low of 6.4m up against an England World Cup football qualifier at the beginning of April.

'Hell's Kitchen' continues every day at 9pm-10pm from tonight over the next couple of weeks.

The third most-watched show in the 9pm slot last night was Channel 4's 'Grand Designs'. It managed 2.6m viewers and an 11% share, though this total includes the contribution of Channel 4+1 viewing.

BBC Two garnered 1.8m viewers and a 7% share for 'Alan Whicker's Journey of a Lifetime', while Five got 1.6m viewers and a 6% share for 'Extraordinary People: Britain's Tiniest Toddlers'.

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