TFI Sex Olympics

15.02.09: CHRIS EVANS, the BBC's new chief executive, has defended his decision to broadcast the International Mating Game, dubbed the 'Sex Olympics'.

The former presenter said The Mating Game "was legitimate naughty-but-nice programming".

The broadcast lifted the BBC's share of the audience to 50% on Sunday night, the highest rating achieved by a single network since England lost the 2006 World Cup final against Nigeria.

Although individually the hundreds of competitive channels rarely achieve more than a 1% audience share, between them they have eroded the once huge audiences controlled by the mainstream networks.

The use of often explicit spectaculars to boost audiences has provoked complaints in the English parliament, but a BBC spokesman said: "We are no longer a public service. We can do what we like."

Evans pointed to his other key project, The Global Show, soap operas from around the world, as "an example of broadcasting uniting viewers worldwide".

The BBC, mutualised in 2006, was taken over six months ago by Globorama Entertainment. Evans denies reports that the group plans to sell off Radio 4. JM