Interviewing royals must be murder for hosts like Andrew Denton. There’s that thin line of detachment and disinterest one should avoid crossing if you can during the interview.

A couple of times towards the end of the Mary and Fred waffle on Monday night, Denton gave the line a nudge, but at the end of a lengthy, 40 minute interview you could put that down to fatigue.

Certainly you got a better sight of Fred and Mary with Denton than you would have from Ray Martin (although he would have gone close), anyone on Seven, and anyone else on the ABC.

Mary’s reserve at times bordered on suspicion, even with someone as genial as Denton but the viewers certainly liked it and voted with their remotes.

The program’s best ever figures for the period 9.30pm to 10.14pm when Enough Rope was actually on air. More than 1.538 million viewers, the second most watched program on the night after Seven’s Desperate Housewives.

It out-rated the previous best, the interviews with Michael Parkinson and Bill Clinton in 2004 which attracted 1.3 million people and the 1.4 million who watched the Steve Irwin interview in October 2003.

Women dominated the audience, especially women over 40 years of age. All women accounted for 60% of the audience and women 40 plus amounted to 45% of the audience. Men over 40 accounted for 28% of viewers.

Enough Rope also out-rated its previous best in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide and exceeded the 2004 average audience figures in each city market.

Having Desperate Housewives run over meant for a slow start (it finished at 9.37pm, just after hitting its peak of 2.4 million people!), but having Cate Blanchett win her Oscar before 9pm (the Oscars telecast actually peaked around 8.31 pm at 1.55 million people), meant there were more people available to sample and stay than Denton or his team had probably thought.

After such a great start to 2005 though, they know its all down hill from here.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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