Leaders’ debate attracts 4.1 million

Sky News scores its best ever audience

LONDON — The second U.K. election leaders’ debate won a live audience of 4.1 million viewers across Sky News, BBC News Channel and Sky3.

While this was down significantly on the 9.4 million who tuned in for the first leaders’ debate, shown by ITV1 April 15, this was Sky News’s most watched show ever.

Sky News recorded an average audience of 2.125 million (8.73%), peaking at 9 p.m. with 2.53 million (10.4%), according to overnight figures. The slot average is 173,000 (0.7%).

John Ryley, head of Sky News, said: “It is clear that the leaders’ debates have struck a chord with the British public and energized the election campaign, just as we hoped they would when we called on the three main party leaders to join in a televised debate.”

It was, arguably, Sky News that made these historic programs happen.

But not everyone was impressed by the perf of Sky News anchor Adam Boulton, whose chairing of the debate was noticeably less hands-on than ITV’s Alastair Stewart the week before.

The U.K.’s final leaders’ debate will take place April 29, a week before the election, when BBC1 will host the pols’ talk-in.

The debates have transformed what had been a dreary contest into a genuine three horse race between the incumbent Labour government and opposition parties the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

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