Gary Barlow pulls in TV viewers

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: Gary Barlow came second to the fireworks display on New Year's Eve Gary Barlow came second to the fireworks display on New Year's Eve

Gary Barlow pulled in around 10 million viewers on New Year's Eve despite controversy over his extended appearance, according to reports.

The BBC faced accusations that it was giving the singer too much airtime to "plug" his new album with the two-parter Gary Barlow's Big Ben Bash Live.

The show featured the ex-Take That star, who was joined by special guests at the live concert in central London, performing a collection of his greatest hits to see in the New Year.

But Metro said that Big Ben Bash Live was watched by an estimated 10.2 million viewers on BBC One at its peak, coming second only to coverage of the fireworks display on the Thames, which later pulled in 13.7 million.

Some viewers said that the show was a plug for Gary, with Metro quoting Andrew Dineley as tweeting: "Nice of the BBC to pay for an extended Gary Barlow advert for his new album, prime time New Years Eve" b ut fan Amy Cope posted: "Gary Barlow on BBC was fantastic - great performer."

The BBC said in a statement: "It is not unusual for an artist of Gary Barlow's stature and broad appeal to appear on a range of programmes that reach different audiences, and is entirely in keeping with our editorial guidelines."

Jools Holland's Annual Hootenanny on BBC Two pulled in 2.56 million viewers, while Channel 4's Alan Carr's New Year Specstacular attracted 1.54 million.

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