MORE than a million more viewers watched Stargazing Live, co presented by comedian Dara O Briain on BBC TWO, than shows fronted by Only Fools and Horses star David Jason and Griff Rhys Jones on BBC ONE on Monday night .
According to ratings figures released on Tuesday, around 2.6 million viewers tuned in to watch Sir David’s The Royal Bodyguard, widely panned by critics, in its half-hour slot from 9pm.
The One Griff Rhys Jones, which also aired on BBC ONE, the corporation’s flagship channel, was watched by 2.2 million people on Monday night.
In stark contrast, Stargazing Live, which aired between 8.30pm to 10pm, attracted an audience of around 3.8 million. The three days of live stargazing featured epic images from observatories around the globe and is co presented by Professor Brian Cox.
The BBC dismissed suggestions its comedy night had failed.
A spokesman pointed out it had several good shows including the Brendan O’Carroll comedy Mrs Brown's Boys, which regularly attract audiences of between four or five million people.
The figures, represents a slump in ratings for The Royal Bodyguard, David Jason’s first show since Only Fools and Horses, as the opening episode of the series saw 4.5 million tune in.
Viewers have gone online to criticise The Royal Bodyguard, in which Sir David's bumbling character, Captain Guy Hubble, attempts to protect the Royal Family.
One, writing on the BBC's Points of View messageboard, said: "There will be a sigh of relief across the country when it comes to an end – whereas the BBC comedy department needs taking into a darkened room and shown some of the classic sitcoms of the not too distant past to see how it's done."
Another said "the only fun to be had with this tripe is 'guess the ratings drop’”.
Meanwhile, The One Griff Rhys Jones, a three-part series entitled The Ones, saw a return to the screen for 1980s comedians and featured a mix of stand-up and sketches.
The previous episode, featuring Jasper Carrott, had 3.4 million viewers, which was a fall from the 2.9 million who watched Lenny Henry in the opening show.
No decision has yet been made on whether The Ones and The Royal Bodyguard will be recommissioned for further series.