The much trumpeted return of the bong, Sir Trevor McDonald and News at Ten failed to make a big impact – more than a million more tuned into the BBC News at 10pm.

According to initial overnight figures, News at Ten was watched by 3.8m viewers, 18.4 per cent of the watching audience, while 4.9m tuned into the BBC News, a 23.4 per cent share.

News at Ten featured the return of the Big Ben bongs, plus an exclusive with the reported love of Princess Diana’s life, Dr Hasnat Khan.

The BBC featured an undercover story from strife-torn Zimbabwe.

Sir Trevor, who last presented ITV’s evening news bulletin in 2005, said he was ‘delighted to be back’ in his achorman role.