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Stargazing Live attracts astronomical viewing figures

02 Apr 2015

Millions of the nation's viewers joined Professor Brian Cox and Dara O'Briain live on BBC2 for the biggest astronomical event of the century so far

The programmes were broadcast live from the Observatory Control Room and the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre as usual, with Professor Brian Cox and comedian Dara O Briain presenting. Professor Tim O'Brien, Associate Director of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, also appeared. Shows were broadcast on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings (18-20 March), with an extra show featuring the eclipse on Friday morning. 

The evening shows averaged 1.7 million viewers each night, which was slightly down on the previous year's figures. However, BBC production manager Gemma Thomas explained: "The March slot always has lower figures than the usual January position. We had tough competition and a Wednesday-Friday run is really difficult for a factual series. It is still in line with slot average and the channel are very pleased."

The eclipse daytime show was a triumph, with an average audience of 4.1 million giving an audience share of 55.1% - which is virtually unheard of. It peaked at 9.30am with 4.7 million viewers - an audience share of 57.4% - exceeding the slot average by nearly 3 million viewers.

The Friday morning show was the highest rating morning programme since the Diamond Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving Service in 2012, and had the highest average share since the Royal Wedding in 2011. The programme also featured among the top 20 most requested programmes on iPlayer (252,680 requests).

Gemma Thomas commented: "Team Jodrell should be as thrilled as we are, as this programme really was a team effort."