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Strictly's Daniel O'Donnell beats EastEnders as B&B Road Trip waltzes to top of TV leaderboard

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 04/11/2015

Daniel and Majella O'Donnell
Daniel and Majella O'Donnell
Tim and Ethy Clifford of Abbeydene House with the O’Donnells
Willowbank house owners Joan and Tom Foster with the couple

He waltzed off Strictly and straight back onto our TV screens with his new show Daniel And Majella's B&B Road Trip.

While Daniel O'Donnell failed to impress with his dancing, he topped local TV audience ratings on Monday night, with his new show even beating EastEnders.

The crooner told the Belfast Telegraph he was delighted to hear that so many people had tuned in.

The second show in the UTV series was the most watched programme here on Monday night in its time slot.

While the long-running BBC One soap attracted a peak audience of 191,000 viewers, Daniel and Majella beat that with 197,000 - a 31% share of the viewing public compared to EastEnders' 29%.

It's only the second week of six shows about the popular Donegal couple visiting guesthouses around Ireland, meeting the owners and trying out local activities.

The debut programme was viewed by nearly half-a-million people north and south, peaking in Northern Ireland with 204,000 watching.

Speaking from his holiday home in Tenerife, Daniel said: "Well, that can't be bad.

"That's really fantastic. Majella and I certainly enjoyed making the show

"It was great fun doing the show and you can only hope that the enjoyment and atmosphere transfers to the audience."

Two guesthouses in Northern Ireland - Willowbank House in Enniskillen and Abbeydene House in Newtownabbey - were selected out of 150 applicants to feature in the final show on November 30.

Willowbank overlooks Lough Erne and has been run by Joan and Tom Foster for the last 15 years.

Joan said: "It's fantastic to hear how popular Daniel and Majella's show is as I never, ever thought it would attract so much attention.

"It's bound to boost business for us and already we have guests asking about Daniel's visit and if they are coming back again. He's put us on the map."

Ethy and Tim Clifford have run their four-star Abbeydene House for the last eight years.

US World War Two hero General Dwight D Eisenhower - who was later to elected 34th President - stayed in the house in 1945.

But now the Victorian mansion overlooking Belfast Lough has a new claim to fame.

Ethy said: "It was amazing to have Daniel and Majella stay, they were a brilliant couple."

Meanwhile Daniel - who is not ruling out a possible second series - has claimed a new musical record with the release of his new record, The Hank Williams Songbook.

It has gone straight into the UK artist albums chart at No.5, making him the first singer to feature in the UK album charts for 28 years in a row.

The 53-year-old has had an album in the Top 30 every year since 1988. Daniel has also seen 14 of his albums make the Top 10 since January 2000. He said he was delighted with the success of his latest long-player.

Belfast Telegraph

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