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`Casino Royale` draws 5.1m viewers for UK television premiere

21-Sep-2009 • Casino Royale

The UK terrestrial television premiere of the 2006 James Bond film "Casino Royale" aired on ITV on Saturday 19th September 2009 to mediocre ratings.

Kicking off at 9:15pm, "Casino Royale" scooped an average of 5.1m viewers for the first timeslot, a 25.7% audience share.

To put the viewership in to context, the previous hour saw "Strictly Come Dancing" on BBC1 attract 7.7m viewers (32.9%), whilst ITV's "The X Factor" drew and average of 9.3m (38.0%) - and at it's peak at 20:45 drew 10.0m (40.2%). Almost half the ITV audience tuned out when Bond began.

Breaking for the news at 23:05, "Casino Royale" resumed at 23:20 with 3.5m viewers (31.6%) for the final act.

The technical presentation of Daniel Craig's debut may have detracted some, as ITV elected to broadcast the movie in full screen 'pan and scan' format, rather than widescreen (the film was made available in widescreen exclusively on DVD and Blu-Ray release in the UK). Several edits were also noticed by fans.

The almost three-year gap between theatrical release and television debut may have also been a factor in the viewership. "Casino Royale" was also one of the best-selling DVDs and Blu-Rays in 2007, meaning most potential viewers will have already seen the film on home release.

In today's multi-channel multi-platform media environment, it is impossible to compare the ratings for Bond films to past decades. The record, which will probably never be beaten, is held by "Live And Let Die" which scooped 23.5m viewers on 20th January 1980 and is the most-watched film in UK television history.

"Casino Royale" ITV Premiere - Timeslot Breakdown
21:15 - 5.3m (24%)
21:30 - 5.3m (23.9%)
21:45 - 5.2m (24.1%)
22:00 - 5.2m (25%)
22:15 - 4.9m (25.5%)
22:30 - 4.9m (27.5%)
22:45 - 4.7m (28.6%)
23:00 - 4.1m (27.2%)
23:15 - 3.6m (27.9%)
23:30 - 3.5m (29.6%)
23:45 - 3.6m (33.8%)
00:00 - 3.2m (34.5%)

Thanks to `Count Chocula` for the alert.

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