Panorama rant boosts ratings

Guardian, UK/May 15, 2007
By John Plunkett

The prospect of seeing Panorama reporter John Sweeney blowing his top at a Church of Scientology spokesman helped the venerable BBC1 current affairs programme to its biggest audience in its new Monday night slot.

Last night's edition of Panorama, called Scientology and Me, was watched by 4.4 million viewers with a 19% share, according to unofficial overnight figures.

The programme grew its audience by a million viewers during its 30-minute run, ending with a peak of 4.9 million in its second quarter hour.

Panorama's average of 4.4 million viewers beat the previous high in its new Monday night slot of 4.1 million, for its investigation into the GMTV phone-in scandal last month.

It was also Panorama's highest audience in any slot since September last year and its investigation into alleged football corruption.

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