More Australians chose to watch Tasmanian devils mating on TV rather than Barnaby Joyce talking about his affair

Vikki Campion and Barnaby Joyce. Screenshot from Sunday Night on the Seven Network

Australians enjoyed listening to David Attenborough talk them through Tasmanian devils mating aggressively and checking out a reno job on a Tweed Heads property more than they did hearing what Barnaby Joyce had to say about his illicit affair.

That’s what Sunday Night’s producers will be pondering today after they blew $150,000 cash on the former deputy PM and his partner Vikki Campion for them to very publicly air a story Joyce had been pleading was “private” for months.

While better than last week’s audience of 427,000, Sunday Night’s figure of 631,000 for the Joyce interview on Seven was not even the top five most watched shows on Australian TV last night.

Seven still won the night, with 1.18 million tuning in for the news and House Rules pulling 882,000 viewers for the Tweed Heads reveal.

But around the Joyce interview timeslot, The Voice (816,000) and MasterChef (781,000) proved better TV for more Australian viewers.

And the ABC worked up some nice momentum for its new local drama Mystery Road.

Kicking off with the news (747,000), viewers stuck around for David Attenborough’s Tasmania, including the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

For an Attenborough special, the hour-long puff piece on the Apple Isle was a curiously unengaging ramble about how fat Tasmania’s platypuses are, how big its trees were, and how deadly jackjumper ants could be.

There was a lot of talk about how Tasmanian devil behaviour changes through the seasons, and some beautiful aerial shots. But without the man himself on the ground and in the shots, it had more of a paid presentation feel to it than what an Attenborough special normally entails.

It was good enough for viewers to be ready for Mystery Road though, and they all resisted the urge to switch over for The Barnaby Tales.

Some 786,00 viewers watched the whole double episode, helping ABC to third spot overall for the night with 20.8% of viewers, behind Nine (27.1%) and Seven (29.2%).

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