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Daniel and Majella O'Donnell's new show boosts UTV ratings, attracting more viewers than EastEnders


Daniel O'Donnell with wife Majella

Daniel O'Donnell with wife Majella

Daniel O'Donnell with wife Majella

The first episode of 'Daniel and Majella's B&B Road Trip' was a ratings winner for UTV Ireland and UTV, pulling in close to half a million viewers.

An average of 322,000 people tuned in to the show on UTV Ireland, while a further 192,000 watched it north of the border on UTV.

It comes as good news for UTV Ireland, whose home-produced programming has failed to make a real impression on Irish viewers.

Pat Kenny's short-lived chat show 'In the Round' was pulled after just five episodes.

But their latest offering, which sees singer Daniel O'Donnell and his wife Majella visit a variety of B&Bs around the country, was the most watched programme on air on Monday night - beating 'Eastenders' on RTÉ One.

"[The viewership figures] reinforce the couple's popularity across the country," Mary Curtis, Head of Channel at UTV Ireland said.

"It was also the most-watched programme in Ireland in its timeslot, with a 20pc share of the viewing audience."

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Curtis added that the programme allowed viewers to see "a side to Daniel and Majella O'Donnell that many have never seen before".

During the course of the show, the couple visited Anne's B&B in Tulsk, Co Roscommon and Moy River B&B in Cloonacool, Co Sligo, run by Pat and Rita McCarrick.

Daniel, who was recently knocked out of BBC show 'Strictly Come Dancing', said he relished filming the six-part travel series.

"The fact that we got to interact with so many different people was, for me, the best part," he said.

"We stayed in different types of houses and everyone had something to offer.

"It was nice to travel and see Ireland.

"I have travelled Ireland umpteen times, just trying to get somewhere," he added.

"This time we were really looking at it. Ireland has so much to offer - whether you're by the coast or inland."

In the coming weeks viewers will be able to watch the couple take part in tractor racing in Enniskerry, go paddle-boarding in Bantry Bay, and visit Ireland's last remaining 'leprechaun whisperer'.

UTV Ireland have been inundated with requests and queries from fans and B&B owners since they announced the series was going into production.

Majella O'Donnell believes during the course of filming they reached "the heart of Ireland".

"When you're in cities all the time, the old Irish ways can get lost," she said.

"But I feel that we really did reach the heart of Ireland, so in that respect, it was really good."

'Daniel and Majella's B&B Road Trip' will broadcast every Monday night at 8pm until November 30.

Kirsty Blake Knox, Irish Independent

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