Weaver's Week 2011-01-02

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Happy new year, everyone! Just before we move headlong into the fresh smell of 2011, let's linger just a little longer, and cast our eye over the events of 2010. It was the year of many things, and here are our highlights and lowlights.


2010: the year of... Cookery shows

Judging strictly by volume, the entire country was cooking during 2010. From the depths of the daytime schedule to the heights of prime time, new shows about food cropped up more often than new months, and that's not counting the returning successes. Lowlight of the year was Iron Chef UK (C4, April); this hard-as-nails cook-off between two of the country's top chefs crashed and burned – whatever the audience is looking for at 5pm, they're clearly not looking for this. The last ten episodes went out to an audience of almost some people in December.

Channel 5 (or whatever it was calling itself that week) had sponsored cooking shows Ten Mile Menu, Street Market Chefs, and Family Food Fight – the last of those was slapped down for repeating the sponsor's advertising in the programme itself, a strict no-no. ITV daytime brought us Celebrity Pressure Cooker, best remembered for its title sequence featuring something that isn't a pressure cooker. BBC daytime had The Hairy Bikers' Cook Off and Instant Restaurant, and the Beeb claimed the biggest new hit of the year as The Great British Bake Off allowed Mel and Sue some prime-time exposure, surrounded by lots of delectable cakes.

Of the established shows, Come Dine with Me remained popular, not least in the office of the deputy prime minister. Masterchef offered a championship for all seasons, with the Standard, Professional, and Celebrity versions now augmented by a Junior show. Ready Steady Cook found itself left as the scrapings on the burned saucepan of cookery shows and won't be renewed.

Curio of the year has to be Michael Winner's Dining Stars. ITV thought it was smart to give four hours of national television for Michael Winner to expound his personal views on what makes good cookery. Will everyone with a strong opinion get time on a national television network to stand on their soapbox? Does this make good television? No and no would appear to be the answers there.

Iron Chef UK The Iron Chefs. According to our diligent editor, these are Martin Blunos, Judy Joo, Sanjay Dwivedi, Tom Aiken, but they could be anyone.

2010: the year of... Daytime hits

Daytime television had two big hits, both building from debuts in 2009. Pointless appeared in autumn 2009, and invited contestants to prove that they were smarter than the average bear, that they could give answers that no-one else had thought of. The show tweaked its format slightly, giving contestants a set of options to choose from, and asking its players to prove their trivia knowledge. The final eliminator was also tweaked. From the oh-so-prestigious 4.30 slot, Pointless has grown an appreciative audience, and quite a large one – 2 million viewers at that time of day isn't to be sniffed out.

The Chase had a two-week run in summer 2009, and returned for a new series in summer 2010. The show is simple, a team of four go head-to-head with some of the best quizzers in the country, and can choose to trade their headstart for a greater or lesser amount of cash. This programme has many of the selling points of Eggheads, not least the way that regular people are taking on Britain's best brains. Unlike the venerable BBC opposition, The Chase feels fairer, and doesn't patronise by offering multiple-choice questions. Thanks to ITV's commitment to live sport, The Chase spent two summer weeks as the most-viewed game show on the channel.

It was a quiet year for non-cookery daytime shows, and most of the other new formats were familiar. Antiques show Bargain Hunt inspired ITV's Secret Dealers, Come Dine With Me was transferred to property (ITV's May the Best House Win and returning House Guest) and bed 'n' breakfasts (C4's Three in a Bed). Perhaps the only novelty was when historical re-enactment moved into daytime with Escape in Time. This was actual hard work, and not the sepia-tinted spectacle we might have expected.

The Chase

Anne Hegerty, Mark Labbett, Bradley Walsh, Shaun Wallace. Four names to strike fear into anyone's heart.

2010: the year of... ITV relying on celebrity

Britain's Favourite Button (© ITV Network Centre 1993) has long offered a surfeit of minor celebrity; indeed, its ITV2 channel is built around little else, showing Jordan and Peter and Kerry and rounding it all off with Celebrity Juice. The terrestrial channel seems to have adopted this policy, never using members of the public where it's possible to show minor celebs. Never mind regular people learning to perform opera, or do that ice dancing lark, ITV will show you Popstar to Operastar and Dancing on Ice. Odd One In had a celebrity panel, Magic Numbers would be incomplete without an ITV house guest. Regular people need not apply for Family Fortunes or Mr and Mrs, those are reserved for faces the viewers might already know.

Even the more challenging shows are not allowed to breed new stars – 71 Degrees North saw various minor stars trek through the icy wastes of a Norwegian spring to reach the top of the world, and a place where they actually expect the temperature to get to minus ten kajillion. The Door pitted celebs against rats, spiders, cockroaches, and Amanda Holden in a manner that reminded us of Fort Boyard at its most ghastly. Only returning favourite The Cube and a few Saturday evening shows were primarily about members of the public, and we'll be discussing those again later.

Even the digital channels went down the celebrity route – ITV4 had Richard Bacon talking to already-known names on his Beer & Pizza Club, while Mark Watson Kicks Off was a sports-related ramble for the already famous.

Dancing on Ice Kieron Richardson and Brianne Delcourt ask how many people are watching this.

2010: the year of... Dancing and singing

Ever since television began, it's been showing as many shows about people singing, dancing, or otherwise performing for other people's delectation. Many old favourites came back this year – Strictly Come Dancing for its eighth run, The X Factor its seventh, Britain's Got Talent for a fourth run, and they were joined by a second run of summer filler Tonight's the Night. These bulwarks of the schedule were joined by new upstarts. The BBC got in early with So You Think You Can Dance, a showcase for fourteen young people who proved they really could dance; and for judge Louise Redknapp, who proved she could be replaced by Amanda Holden and no-one would notice. The Satellite Channel had its own spoiler, Got to Dance promised a larger payout but far less publicity.

Almost inevitably, there were also singing competitions. The BBC's commitment to the Eurovision Song Contest didn't stretch to finding a decent song – the corporation's entry was written by Pete Waterman and was of such quality that the Reynolds Girls would rather have heard Fleetwood Mac. It was a throwback to his glory days of twenty years earlier, which probably explained why it sounded out of date by approximately two decades, and it was so memorable that one of the contestants forgot exactly how it went. While she was singing it. The broadcast rights for the BBC to show the finals week was precisely £283,190; even allowing for the cost of mounting the national final, the BBC can't have spent much more than £50,000 per hour of transmission, making this one of the cheapest prime-time exercises of the year. Josh Dubovie, the innocent party in all of this, is now appearing in pantomime in Grays, alongside Nikki Grahame and David Van Day

New singing competitions went out on Channel 5 and The Satellite Channel. The latter's Must Be the Music invited people to submit and perform their own compositions, which were instantly made available for purchase online. Three top ten hits were recorded by performers on the programme, but TSC decided that the viewing figures weren't good enough and have decided against commissioning another series of the programme.

A similar fate befell Don't Stop Believing, a programme combining the quality plots of imported drama Glee with the volume of twenty people belting out a popular tune. Citing poor viewing figures – though also possibly a change of senior management, one of whom devised the programme – the show was shuffled from mid-evening to teatime, where it sung its final notes. The channel's new owners briefly threatened to not pay for the programme, until they realised that this really wouldn't stand up in court.

So You Think You Can Dance Tommy Franzén and Charlie Bruce from So You Think....

2010: the year of... High profile flops

Though both Must Be the Music and Don't Stop Believing failed to live up to the high expectations placed upon them, the programmes went out on niche channels, and anything making a measurable cultural impact – however small – can contest the description of "flop". Programmes on BBC1 and ITV don't get that luxury.

ITV began the year with Ant and Dec's new primetime game show, Push the Button. Two teams of relatives gather in ITV's studios, sit on the ITV sofa, enjoy ITV hospitality, and attempt to hang on to as much of ITV's £100,000 as they can. To do this, they'll compete against each other in games of skill, mental and physical ability, and a performance challenge. While this all looked rather wonderful on paper, the fun and magic just didn't come across properly on the broadcast, it was all too complicated and more than a bit messy. The producers have decided that the problem was that the show wasn't live, because live television can cover all sorts of sins. We're not convinced, and wonder if we should watch the new series from behind the sofa.

At least it's getting a new series. ITV's other high-profile competition Magic Numbers seems to have disappeared into the ether. We watched a couple of episodes of this variety show with a call-and-don't-win competition, we even reviewed the show, and we still couldn't tell you what happened, we were so confused by Stephen Mulhern talking about "the last six numbers of your number". Ditto for The Whole 19 Yards, where the objective of getting from the start to the finish was complicated by an obstacle course. Again, the idea looked spectacular on paper, and it was thoroughly entertaining for the first time through, but when the same basic games cropped up week after week, we swiftly lost interest.

Not that the BBC was exempt from its share of failures. 101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow (sic) got off on the wrong foot – "game show" is a two-word phrasal noun – and continued by stretching a 30-minute game into a full hour. The show's aim was to drop seven of the eight contenders into a large pool of water in a variety of entertaining and amusing ways. They failed in this aim in only three elements: not everyone went into the water, the entries weren't amusing, and they weren't entertaining. Once you've seen people enter a pool three or four times, you've seen them all. A similar consideration applies to Total Wipeout, which remains mysteriously popular. Like Channel 4 with Iron Chef, the Beeb is at least prepared to burn off its errors – globe-spanning walking show Drop Zone went out this autumn almost two years after it was first recorded.

We've yet to see 12 Yard's Perfection programme, because the company failed to ensure that contestants couldn't see the answers to the questions they were being asked. Six weeks' worth of programmes had to be junked, and the new series of Pointless was promoted from 2011 into 2010 to fill the gaps. Endemol made high-profile errors as well: The Miloiln Pnuod Dorp Live had Davina McCall shouting at young people to move one million pounds in real cash while responding to questions that may or may not be accurate and well-written. Maybe they might wish to invest a few quid on some competent researchers, people who will provide evidence that Sylvester McCoy played CBBC's Dr Who for longer than David Tennant did, or that little sticky notes were on sale before portable tape players.

Push the Button Even Push the Button wasn't immune to ITV's celebrity push.

2010: the year of... shows that don't fit into our narrative

Antiques Master was a mildly diverting way to fill summer Mondays, asking various questions of antiques experts in the surroundings of a comfortable stately home. We'll remember it mostly for Annoying Voiceover Lady, who kept stating the blatantly obvious, and the makers would rather we remember the slightly warm-and-fuzzies from specialists having their moment in the sun. The Bubble was another show that was hard to pigeon-hole – take three celebrities, put them in the Lincolnshire countryside for a week, then ask them to judge what might – and might not – have gone on in their absence. Thanks to strong production work, this show worked as a straightforward news quiz, and as a question of "would the news really report that".

Relationships are a regular excuse to make a game show, though this year's crop was somewhat thinner on the ground. Almost by default, bronze medal goes to Sibling Rivalry on Radio Wales, a sort-of Mr and Mrs between brothers and/or sisters. Silver medal to The Love Bus, Fiver's show about algorithmic optimisation and distortions in the space-time continuum. Or Zoe Salmon inviting people to get together while she wears a uniform. Each to their own. And the biggest new relationship show of the year was ITV's Take Me Out, where contestants came down a vertical pipe, men who deigned to lower themselves to the level of women, who could accept or reject his offer of friendship and maybe more. We turned out the lights at the first possible opportunity.

As they must do, programmes came to an end – Pen Campau kicked itself into touch after two runs, and the revival of The Krypton Factor found itself without The Critical Factor. The year's biggest departure was Big Brother, which kicked off with 4.9 million wondering who these people are. We remember the series for three self-confessed geeks (and one closeted brainiac), because that was always going to grab this column's attention. And an incident with a hat, because we do. It was the tasks that made the most compelling viewing. Ignore the obvious! Take part in the pantomime horse derby! Play space invaders! Big Brother threw the works at this year's effort, and it showed. It's just a shame that there were too many time-filling shots of a duvet, and that the last two-and-a-half weeks were so dull, when this year's friends were replaced by people we hoped we'd forgotten from previous years.

Big Brother Oh, get a duvet.

2010: the year of... Spectacular children's shows

The BBC's children's department continued its plan of making landmark shows with its relatively limited budget. Raven may have bowed out after ten series and seven years, TMi closed after five years, and we're hoping that Bamzooki will come back in the new year, as Trapped did in a new fairy tale guise. But not like We are the Champions, filmed in the local library, that's how loud the crowd wasn't. CBBC did offer three remarkable new programmes. Mission 2110 was the logical heir to Raven, challenging young people to play their part in resistance against a great enemy who threatened everything we hold dear. Unlike Raven, Mission 2110 benefitted from a coherent backstory, written by the authors of The Sarah Jane Adventures, and gradually revealed through the programmes.

Relic - Guardians of the Museum was young television's part in the BBC's 100 Objects That Shaped The World strand. Here, a tour guide invited children to tour the museum, play games loosely related to the artefacts they saw, and learn about the time when they might have been used. The end game let the show down a little. No such problem for Fee Fi Fo Yum, in which Les Dennis is kidnapped by Brian the Giant to star in his game show revolving around food. And bodily functions. The programme managed to combine entertainment with serious game play, which is more than certain shows managed to do.

Mission 2110

Caleb and Cybele discuss tactics in Mission 2110.

2010: the year of... Only Connect

It's been three years arriving, but 2010 was the year when Only Connect took to defining BBC4. No fewer than 57 episodes have aired during this year – the first two series in re-runs, two complete new tournaments, the first of a few celebrity specials, and we've recapped them all. Viewing figures have caused jaws to drop up and down the land – Only Connect regularly attracts around 600,000 viewers, making it as popular as spin-off shows from Dancing on Ice and Big Brother, and more popular than anything shown on UKTV Dave or The Living Channel.

But raw numbers only tell half the story. Only Connect is a show that says, in bold letters, We Have Brains. Britain is smart, it's not afraid to challenge itself with questions so difficult that it makes your mind go fuzzy until it dredges up the answer from somewhere. Even the Greek letters found the going too taxing, bowing out after three years and being replaced by some Egyptian hieroglyphics. A fifth series is already accepting applications, both from contestants and from symbols.

Thirty two new shows, but (counts very carefully) only thirty one reviews. We're missing one! Let's set that right at once.

The Only Connect Final

Seven weeks ago, the television correspondent for the Rusty Old Radio Times saw a preview of this show, and rather gave away what happened in his write-up. People, if you're going to give away big spoilers, put SPOILER! before it, and Oh. afterwards. Seven hours ago, Alesman Graham Barker ran up a score of 30 on Brain of Britain, easily qualifying for the second round, where he might face his co-conspirator Mark Kerr. Seventy seconds ago, Hilary James won Celebrity Mastermind, after John Humphrys asked more questions in two minutes than he normally does in three hours.

But that is mere trivia when compared to this monolith of multi-media quizzing. The Radio Addicts – Dave Clark, Neil Phillips, and captain Gary Grant – face the Epicureans – David Brewis, Aaron Bell, and Katie Bramall-Stainer. There are champions of The Krypton Factor, Mastermind, Masterteam, 100%, and countless other shows on the panel tonight. Three of them will add the title "Only Connect champions" to their already-illustrious roll of achievement; Victoria promises that the losers will have to go on and meet the Eggheads. Not for a quiz. Smart shirts for the Epicureans, ties for the Addicts.

Only Connect (2) (l-r) Clever, clever, clever.

It's the Addicts who kick off proceedings, they've been put into bat by the opposition. Places and countries for the Addicts, who reckon they've got geographical centres of their countries. No, nor are they scenes of massacres, but they're abandoned places. No points. For the Epicureans, life is simple. Flying a kite, lighting a bonfire, ringing church bells, drinking in pubs after 9.30. These were things banned in wartime under the Defence of the Realm Act, and that's a point to the Epicureans. Pictures for the Addicts: a computer mouse, Windsor Castle, a golf ball on a tee, and Pinocchio. Are these things originally made out of wood? A golf ball was, the castle might have been. Indeed, a computer mouse was originally made out of wood, that's a point. Victoria has the grace to provide a SPOILER! warning for the plot of Pinocchio.

"Here's looking at you, kid", "Here's Johnny!", "You talking' to me?" Famous lines in films that were never actually said? Repeated in sequels? Oh, this is even more taxing: these lines were all improvised! Words for the Addicts: Inferno, Prometheus Bound, they go for I Am Not Spock, and Paradise Lost. They've got it, it's books where the sequel (or a later book) had the opposite title. Audio for the Epicureans, who get tracks from Snow White and from Spamalot. "Are there snakes in these titles?" There are snakes in none of the titles: all of the songs are based on Arthurian legend. That's a point to the Addicts, who have a 3-1 lead.

Round two has some numbers: 2.5 million for Samuel Colt, 5 million for London, 10 million for Jack Hobbs, so who has 20 million? New York? Dougal? It's worth a shot. These are the answers to Slumdog Millionaire questions, and Victoria loves the question. "Another one you can't answer?" she cheekily asks. Dukkha, Tanha, Nirvana. It's the four noble truths of Buddhism, so Eightfold Path is the answer no-one would get. Houses in Downing Street appear to be next: Chief Whip, Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer. So who lives at number 12? Foreign minister? Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster? No, it's the PM's Press Officer.

Only Connect (2) (l-r) Clever, clever, clever.

No points so far, let's have the Wick o'Flax o'Doom, and some pictures. Cyan, Magenta De Vine, the Yellow snooker ball, and Jack Black. We'll buy it, the K in CMYK stands for "key", but it's so often black. Two points ties the scores. Chemical formulae for the Radio Addicts: methane, ammonia, water does not lead to hydrogen but hydrogen fluroide – it's picked up by David Brewis the chemistry master, and it's hydrogen reacting with consecutive elements of the periodic table. Aaron gets the last one on sight: if Red is £680, then Dark blue must be £750, the total value of the Monopoly sets. Addicts have three points, but the Epicureans have advanced to nine.

Epicureans begin with fielding positions in cricket, and after a brief diversion into gemstones, pick up some ships. There might be some terms in printing, and they take a very long time to discuss possibilities. It still leaves them with about two seconds to put through the last few possibilities. The ships actually turned out to be works by Tennyson, there are lottery draw machines (some gemstones, some Arthurian legends), and there are measures in printing. Two groups and three connections. Five points!

Radio Addicts don't know it, but they have something to tilt at. Radio communications is their first idea, then they move on to things like the Gherkin and the Shard. There seem to be a set of processes in there, but it's Aaron from the other side who is able to press through the various combinations at a rate of knots. That eats up about a minute of their time, and just leaves random jabbing in the final moments. The other links: Spanish loanwords, radio communications for pilots, and skyscrapers in London. Five points!

No change to the difference, the Epicureans lead by 14-8. Not long to play Mssng Vls, we begin with Political Parties Outside the UK. That goes to the Epicureans by 4-0; Film directors has the Epicureans answering in unison and a 2-1 lead. Five-syllable words starts more to the Addicts taste, but they lose it 1-2. Skat singers is 3-1 to the Addicts, but it's the end of the round!

The end of the contest! The Radio Addicts scored 13 points, but the Epicureans had a total of 23. They are the champions, and receive the trophy during the closing credits.

Only Connect (2) The winners receive their trophy.

Next match: The Children in Need special will be repeated on 10 January. A challenge match between Emmanuel Cambridge (the 2010 University Challenge champions) and The Crossworders (reigning Only Connect Champions of Champions) is provisionally scheduled to air on 17 January

What Did We Watch?

These are the final ratings figures for 2010. Figures are for the main channel, excluding HD and timeshift variants, and limited to one entry per title. Future researchers may wish to note that broadcasting rating people BARB (to whom we're indebted for this research) completely changed their panel at the beginning of 2010, and these figures may not be directly comparable with previous years. This list can also serve as a record of game shows broadcast in primetime during 2010. If this all gets far too boring, readers may wish to skip ahead to the Roll of Honour.


Strictly Come Dancing18/1214.28
The Apprentice15/128.77
Total Wipeout (celeb)2/017.84
Let's Dance for Sport Relief (final)13/037.27
So You Think You Can Dance9/017.13
Celebrity Mastermind6/017.07
Over the Rainbow (final)22/056.95
In It to Win It20/026.88
Celebrity Masterchef19/086.73
Have I Got News For You24/126.66
A Question of Sport8/016.49
Who Dares Wins13/036.27
Masterchef (final)7/046.13
Eurovision Song Contest29/055.59
Junior Apprentice26/055.49
Great British Waste Menu25/085.24
Total Wipeout13/025.13
Tonight's the Night14/084.65
The Weakest Link (Eastenders)20/024.52
101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow (sic) (first)10/074.19
A Question of Sport Uncensored10/073.7

Dancing shows dominate the top end of the listings, though that might be more from their scheduling in the dark of winter. There's a slew of shows between 5m and 7m, with Over the Rainbow proving more popular than any incarnation of Masterchef, and QI never quite beating the Eurovision Song Contest.


The Apprentice You're Fired15/124.31
Masterchef The Professionals26/103.82
University Challenge29/113.58
Mock the Week25/023.33
Mastermind Children in Need19/113.28
Dragons' Den21/073.27
Strictly Come Dancing - It Takes Two6/12, 13/123.17
The Great British Bake Off14/093.03
Have I Got A Little Bit More News For You (Election)27/112.9
QI XL20/032.6
Sport Relief Does Dragons' Den16/032.5
Great British Menu1/062.49
Antiques Road Trip16/032.48
Mastermind Championship of Champions (final)6/082.35
Pointless1/12, 22/122.32
Antiques Master5/072.23
Priceless Antiques Roadshow2/032.21
Dragons' Den What Happened Next?24/092.17
Have I Got Old News For You10/022.14
Never Mind the Buzzcocks4/112.11
The Weakest Link28/121.91
The Bubble19/021.9
Have I Got News For You12/041.82
Shooting Stars13/071.82
Ready Steady Cook5/011.72
Dragons' Den (narr rep)8/081.61

The autumn schedule is clearly more popular than the spring, even University Challenge's spring final (Alex Guttenplan and all) proved less enticing than UCL v Sheffield. Daytime shows do enough to make BBC2's weekly top 30, Eggheads peaked at 2.77m, Pointless at 2.32m. Failure of the year might have been Shooting Stars, generally adjudged "not as funny as we remember it" and only 1.82m viewers.


The X Factor12/1216.55
I'm a Celebrity (final)4/1212.37
Britain's Got Talent17/04, 8/0511.87
Dancing on Ice (first)10/019.64
I'm a Celebrity Coming Out6/127.84
Dancing on Ice Launch Show8/017.27
Push the Button (first)27/027.25
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (live)23/126.67
Take Me Out (first of s2)11/125.96
Mr and Mrs9/015.82
The Cube3/105.78
Family Fortunes3/015.52
Coronation Street The Big 5010/125.2
71 Degrees North (first)11/094.9
The Whole 19 Yards29/054.68
Popstar to Operastar12/024.66
Dancing on Ice Friday26/024.43
Odd One In21/084.26
I Dreamed A Dream - The Susan Boyle Story29/054.13
The Door2/043.98
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (relaunch)3/083.89
Dickinson's Real Deal11/063.62
Magic Numbers28/083.26
Monte Carlo or Bust (first)28/103.23
Marco's Kitchen Burnout23/042.67
The Chase24/062.31

While ITV can provide the big event audiences, its mid-list doesn't have the strength – while BBC1 shows can generally make 6m viewers, ITV will usually have about 5m for its regular shows.

Channel 4

Slumdog Millionaire13/015.23
Big Brother (first)9/064.89
Celebrity Big Brother (final)29/014.46
Ultimate Big Brother (final hour)10/094.08
Davina's Big Send-Off10/093.66
Come Dine With Me14/033.52
8 Out of 10 Cats29/013.48
Dermot's Last Supper10/093.28
Cutting Edge: Living With Brucie14/072.82
The Million Pound Drop Live29/102.69
Deal or No Deal5/012.64
Chris Moyles' Quiz Night26/022.61
Celebrity Coach Trip (first)8/112.51
Four in a Bed2/122.33
Coach Trip12/032.09
Three in a Bed26/052.00
Wogan's Perfect Recall15/011.85
Ramsay's Best Restaurant (first)12/101.69
Channel 4's Alternative Election Night6/051.67
Come Dine With Me Down Under14/081.48
Big Brother's Big Awards Show8/061.41
Big Brother Exposed: The Inside Story6/061.16

So the Channel 4 biggest shows were a film about a game show, and various Big Brother ephemera. We note that the Big Brother opener proved less popular – by 0.4m viewers – than contestant Shabby's appearance in Casualty the previous year. The question is how Channel 4 is going to replace the Big Brother audiences, or even if it should replace them. It's worth noting that the daytime Four in a Bed proved more popular than its primetime ancestor, Three in a Bed.


Xtra Factor (final)12/122.536
I'm a Celeb … Now (final)4/122.131
Britain's Got More Talent Auditions (first)8/051.946
Celebrity Juice28/101.452
Pop Idleus (first)13/011.408
Britain's Got Talent25/041.319
The X Factor (first, narr rep)22/081.05
Britain's Got Talent US17/060.723
Hell's Kitchen Usa22/020.714
I'm a Celeb … (highlights)8/120.691
Dancing on Ice Launch Show10/010.623
Britain's Got More Talent Best & Worst14/040.622
Push the Button14/030.522
Mr and Mrs21/020.487

Celebrity Juice the only ITV2 game show commission to make the year-end charts, and we're a bit pleased to see it being picked up as a filler in STV and UTV.


The Weakest Link (Eastenders)19/022.005

This programme went out on BBC1 the following teatime, to only about twice as many viewers. No place for the Eurovision semi-finals, nor for Young Talent of the Year.

Channel 5

Don't Stop Believing18/071.54
The Simon Cowell Factor7/060.87

We're expecting big things of Channel 5 in the new year, and as many as two shows worth watching will fit the bill nicely.

Sky 1

Got to Dance (final)14/021.354
A League of Their Own24/030.906
Must Be the Music (first)15/080.475
Football's Next Star3/010.262


Come Dine With Me7/031.265

Showing five episodes of Come Dine With Me every Sunday night is all well, but it's a bit ... predictable. We know Dave Lamb's lines almost as well as he does.


The X Factor4/121.219
I'm a Celebrity (final)4/121.11
I'm a Celebrity Coming Out6/120.514
Britain's Got Talent29/050.47
71 Degrees North (first)11/090.296
The Whole 19 Yards8/050.122

High-definition was the big story of the year, and popular shows could easily pull in a fair fraction of their viewers in the more detailed format.


Celebrity Big Brother's Big Mouth (final)29/010.925
Big Brother's Big Mouth27/080.585
Big Brother's Little Brother25/080.479
Meet the Parents25/110.392

BBLB peaked on the final interviews with the civilian finalists; Big Mouth with the unexpected appearance of Josie Gibson. Meet the Parents slumped in the ratings, and the final episode went out after midnight on a Sunday morning.


Only Connect1/110.684
Choir of the Year4/120.375

The Fourth Programme pulled in millions of viewers for some of its high-profile dramas, but Only Connect was its only returning hit.


QI XL4/030.567
Mock the Week2/020.519
Have I Got News For You14/010.495
Would I Lie to You?1/060.433
Never Mind the Buzzcocks12/020.315

The BBC repeat channel had a gentle year, Argumental its only commission of note.


The Apprentice (first)13/100.531
Strictly Come Dancing23/100.49
Eurovision Song Contest29/050.245
Over the Rainbow1/050.223
Junior Apprentice2/060.175
Dragons' Den16/080.151
Masterchef The Professionals (final)2/110.123
QI XL11/120.098

The BBC had one HD channel until early November, when it gained BBC1-HD. We've never had ratings for that latter channel, thus making this list a bit of a hodge-podge of simulcasts and repeats.


Four Weddings29/060.525
Britain's Next Top Model19/070.487
America's Next Top Model22/020.484
Dating In the Dark10/080.298
Party Wars (first)18/100.203
Four 21st Birthday Parties17/050.189
Dating Us In the Dark13/090.154
Restaurant in our Living Room (celeb)23/030.133

The flagship of Virgin's television channels was sold to Sky in June.


Trapped: Ever After2/110.479
Total Wipeout31/100.41
Hole in the Wall23/120.388
Escape from Scorpion Island (final)14/090.385
Sport Relief Does We Are the Champions10/030.378
TMi Friday (last)17/120.378
The Slammer1/100.368
Bamzooki (final)3/020.349
School of Silence28/090.348
Blast Lab9/090.326

We're genuinely surprised not to see Mission 2110 on the list, but then it was up against The Sarah Jane Adventures, and nothing beats that.


Scream If You Know The Answer (first)2/050.364
Masterchef Australia8/120.302
What Do Kids Know?10/010.276
Ballroom with the B-List (first)23/090.183
Total Wipe Us Out23/010.174
The Apprentice Comic Relief16/060.166
Celebrity Masterchef2/070.133
Bargain Hunt12/060.113
Masterchef Goes Large21/050.112

UKTV's new commissions end up on this general entertainment channel, it's just a shame that they're uniformly poor.


World's Strongest Man 200911/010.219
World's Strongest Man 201026/120.17
UK's Strongest Man 201024/110.126
Takeshi's Castle26/090.068
UK's Strongest Man 20092/010.058

The channel was sold from Virgin to Sky during 2010, and closed down in the early hours of New Year's Day.

Virgin 1

Four Weddings8/030.216

Renamed "Channel One" after Virgin sold it off, and to be renamed "Channel Gone" at the end of January.


Jungle Run19/040.206

Still on air, then.

Living 2

Canada's Next Top Model5/010.141
Four Weddings8/040.133
Dirty Dancing The Time of Your Life30/050.076


Who Wants to be a Millionaire?7/050.136
In It to Win It17/030.117
Takeshi's Castle6/110.114
Family Fortunes12/010.11
8 Out of 10 Cats31/030.09
Ninja Warrior22/060.078
One Versus One Hundred14/010.076
TV Bloomers22/020.075
Strike it Rich23/020.072
Take It or Leave It8/120.071
Distraction Us8/020.066
Room 10121/040.063
Play Your Cards Right30/120.06
The Weakest Link21/110.06
Golden Balls22/110.052

The dedicated game show channel brought us very little in 2010, we think Winning Lines was about it.


Only Men Aloud25/110.113
Fferm Ffactor1/070.067
Can i Gymru28/020.061
Codi Canu2/110.046

The Welsh-language channel is now available exclusively on digital, and broadcasts exclusively in Welsh. Music crosses any linguistic barriers.

Discovery Real Time

Come Dine With Me25/040.082

Discovery Networks has pay-tv options to most of Channel 4's shows.




Come Dine With Me16/100.058

A Discovery channel, cunningly hidden in the Entertainment section.

Food Network

Great British Menu22/080.055
Iron Chef America30/050.029

Just to confuse, this isn't a BBC repeats channel.

Good Food

The Hairy Bikers' Food Tour21/040.053
Take on the Takeaway29/060.051
Masterchef Australia7/070.04
Masterchef The Professionals4/030.03

Another BBC repeats channel.


Xtra Factor7/110.044
I'm a Celebrity … Now (first)14/110.037
Celebrity Juice28/100.036
Hell's Kitchen Usa25/100.019

Good work for a service that only began in late October.

Discovery Science



Lab Rats Challenge29/100.04

An imported show from Australia, with clear similarities to Richard Hammond's show.

Extreme Sports


The Canadian import picked up a small but devoted following.

Wedding TV

Brides on a Bus8/030.014
The Great Cake Bake23/090.005

Diva TV

Top Chef20/020.011

The Roll Of Honour

Celebrity Big Brother — Alex Reid
Big Brother — Josie Gibson
Ultimate Big Brother — Brian Dowling

Accumulate! — Smokin' Hot (Kerry Hudson, Ruth Petrie, Elizabeth Bohme)

Brain of Britain — Ian Bayley

Bamzooki — Mean Green

So You Think You Can Dance — Charlie Read

Pen Campau — Ysgol Glan-y-Mor, Pwllheli

Can i Gymru — Tomos Wyn, performing "Bws i'r Lleuad"

Feirm Factor (TG4) — Caroline O'Neill
Fferm Ffactor (S4C) — Teifi Jenkins

The Krypton Factor — Pete Thompson

Jump Nation — Taurus

Raven — Sarjed

Let's Dance for Comic Relief for Sport Relief — Rufus Hound

The All-Ireland Talent Show — Chloe Coyle

Ultimate Traveller — Nathan

Dancing on Ice — Hayley Tammadon

Just a Minute
(spring) — Paul Merton
(summer) — Ross Noble
(autumn) — Julian Clary
(overall) — Paul Merton

Antiques Road Trip — David Harper

University Challenge — Emmanuel Cambridge (Alex Guttenplan, Andy Hastings, Jenny Harris, Josh Scott)

Masterchef — Dhruv Baker
Junior Masterchef — Georgia Bradford
Celebrity Masterchef — Lisa Faulkner
Masterchef The Professionals — Claire Lara

Only Connect (spring) — Gamblers (Dave Bill, Jenny Ryan, Alan Gibbs)
(autumn) — Epicureans (David Brewis, Katie Bramall-Stainer, Aaron Bell)

Mastermind — Jesse Honey
Champion of Champions — Pat Gibson

Celebrity Salon — Celia Holman Lee

Eurovision Song Contest — NDR, represented by "Satellite"; music and lyric by Julie Frost & John Gordon, performed by Lena
Junior Eurovision — AMPTV, represented by "Mama"; music, lyric and performance by Vladimir Arzumanyan

Junior Apprentice — Arjun Rajyagor
The Apprentice (Ireland) — Michelle Massey
The Apprentice (UK) — Stella English

Fame The Musical — Jessica Cervi

Mission 2110
(May) — Paice
(Autumn) — Jodie

Britain's Got Talent — Spelbound

Rostrum Camera — Ken Morse

Counterpoint — Andy Langley

(June) — Oliver Garner
(December) — Jack Hurst

Don't Stop Believing — Dalediva

Kiri Prize — Shuna Scott

Antiques Master — Sue Hirons

The Great British Bake Off — Edd Kimber

Britain's Next Top Model — Tiffany Pisani

Round Britain Quiz — Wales (David Edwards and Myfanwy Jones)

10 Jonathan — Eleanor Kirk, Garod Thomas

71 Degrees North — Marcus Patric

Young Choristers of the Year — Ella Taylor, Liam Jones

Ramsay's Best Restaurant — Casamia, Bristol

I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! — Stacey Solomon

My Genius Idea — Tybalt Melia for the Bike Bleeper

Codi Canu — Côr Rhos a’r Cylch

The X Factor — Matt Cardle and Simon Cowell

Strictly Come Dancing — Kara Tointon

One Man and His Dog — Scotland

Drop Zone — The Luvvies

Quiz is Anfield — Neil Sinclair

And that wraps up another year. If you're reading this on Sunday, highlights of the coming week include The Cube (ITV, 8pm tonight) with Jennie McAlpine and Ricky Hatton. That's up against the opener of Famous and Fearless (C4, 8pm, continues all week) in which famous people do terrifying things, like be interviewed by Cliff Evans and Clare Balding. The Big Fat Quiz of the Year goes out tomorrow (C4, 9.30), and normal service gradually resumes tomorrow and on Tuesday. We would like to list highlights for next Saturday, but there don't appear to be many highlights for next Saturday, so we won't.

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