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3 items from 2012

Manchester United scores temporary win for Channel 5

16 March 2012 5:10 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Channel 5 enjoys more than 4 million viewers with Man Utd Europa League exit, while Love Life loses out to MasterChef

Manchester United's elimination from the Europa League proved a ratings winner for Channel 5 finishing with more than 4 million viewers.

Channel 5's coverage of the last 16 second-leg tie against Athletic Bilbao, which Manchester United lost 2-1, was watched by 2.8 million viewers, a 13.9% share, between 5.15pm and 8.05pm on Thursday.

But it is likely to be the last bumper Europa League night for the channel, with both Manchester teams now eliminated and ITV picking up the rights to the tournament next season.

The match itself, which kicked off at 6pm, averaged 3.3 million, with a five-minute peak of 4.3 million.

With an earlier kick off, it was down on the first leg tie between the two teams which United lost 3-2 and was watched by 3.4 million viewers, peaking with 5.1 million.

If you can't stand the »

- John Plunkett

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TV review: Love Life; Mary's Bottom Line

15 March 2012 5:06 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

It's got starry names – and lots of pillows – but this love story just isn't very good

At the start of new romantic drama Love Life (ITV), traveller Joe returns from a round-the-world trip full of dull stories and photos of Mount Everest. Hang on, that's not Everest, it is not even in the Himalayas by the looks of things. You would have thought they'd have got that right. Or maybe Joe's a liar, and he is not the big adventurer he pretends to be.

Anyway, he goes out on the lash with the lads and bumps into his ex, Lucy, whose decision to come off the pill was what prompted him to skedaddle in the first place. Personally, I think it also had something to do with her penguin-print onesie. Lucy's like that – cosy, homely, a nester, enough to send any man round the world. Now she has got herself knocked up, »

- Sam Wollaston

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Love Life: a TV romance to fall head over heels in love with?

13 March 2012 9:41 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Television love stories have given us some brilliant couples – so why aren't there more romantic dramas on screen?

We have fallen for Ross and Rachel; swooned over Adam and Rachel, and held our breath as Carrie and Big's relationship. And now ITV hopes viewers we will fall for another couple whose relationship is, well, complicated. But can writer Bill Gallagher's new drama Love Life, which tells the story of couple Joe (Rob James-Collier) and Lucy (Andrea Lowe) – in love, but wanting different things – prove that television romance is far from dead.

Compared with anything involving stethoscopes or blue lights and sirens, straightforward love stories are relatively rare on television. While romantic fiction does well in the book charts, and romantic films continue to be big draws for cinema (even if they star Jennifer Aniston) television tends to steer clear of wide-eyed lovey dovey stuff.

The most celebrated modern show »

- Ben Dowell

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