Dot Branning's monologue to her ill husband drew 8.7 million viewers, last night, Thursday January 31, to EastEnders.
The half-hour soliloquy, a first for a TV soap, in which the veteran character, played by the 80-year-old June Brown, recorded a tape for her husband Jim, was watched by 37% of the audience in the half hour from 7.30pm, according to unofficial overnight ratings.
The BBC1 soap comfortably won its slot against ITV1's selection of regional programming, which averaged 4.9 million and 21%.
But it was down on last week's audience for EastEnders, when the soap had an audience of 9.4 million and a 43% share. It was EastEnders' worst Thursday viewing share since November.
ITV1 had a strong night, with dramas The Bill and Trial & Retribution both winning their slots.
The Bill was watched by 5.5 million or 23% at 8pm, ahead of BBC1's Waterloo Road, with 4.7 million and 19%.
In the 9pm slot, the third part of Lynda La Plante's thriller Trial & Retribution boosted its audience by 700,000 from last week, recording 6.1 million and 26%.
The last instalment of Fairy Tales, BBC1's series of one-off dramas giving modern makeovers to familiar children's stories, dropped to just 2.5 million and 11%, down 800,000 and three share points on last week.
Fairy Tales was beaten in the 9pm hour by Channel 4's Cutting Edge documentary strand.
The film Scams, Fiddles and Honest Claims, which looked at how an insurance company investigates potentially fraudulent claims, drew an impressive 3.2 million and 14%.
BBC2's panel show Never Mind the Buzzcocks drew level with Fairy Tales in the half-hour from 9pm, both drawing 2.6 million and 11%.
But sketch show Little Miss Jocelyn pulled in 1.1 million and a 5% share show from 9.30pm.
In the 8pm hour, a double bill of Jamie at Home drew 2 million and 8% at 8pm and 2.1 million and 9% half an hour later.
Over on BBC2, Masterchef performed in line with last week, with 3.1 million viewers and a 13% share, while over on Channel Five, Build a New Life in the Country - Was It Worth It? drew 1.5 million and 7%.
Later, from 10pm, Channel 4's Justin Lee Collins vehicle The Convention Crasher won 1.1 million viewers, a 6% share.BBC2's 10pm comedy Never Better, starring Stephen Mangan, pulled in an audience of 800,000 and a 4% share.
Trial & Retribution's lead over Fairy Tales boosted ITV1 in the news battle at 10pm: News at Ten had 3.4 million viewers and 17%, while the BBC1 bulletin averaged 4.6 million and 24%.
BBC1's Question Time then pulled in 2.7 million and a 22% share between 10.35pm and 11.35pm.
Earlier in the night, ITV1 soap Emmerdale attracted 7.9 million and a 39% share in the half-hour from 7pm, ahead of the 5.2 million and 24% watching the One Show on BBC1.
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