Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Another Top Hundred Spotify Comedy Albums Of All Time (Pre-amble)

Well, it has been a good six weeks since our earlier (Graham Linehan-approved) update of our personal Top 100 Comedy Albums on Spotify, so it’s time for a follow-up. Even though it was actually more of a “Top 114”, but then that’s just the way we roll, baby. If the sequel we’re preparing actually ends up as a “Top 86”, then the equilibrium will be restored, and nobody can really complain. Hopefully, anyway. Anyway, here’s a sort of “preview” for that, taking in the following brand new digital object….

 

image Various Artists – Bruce Forsyth Presents…. (2009)

“Wait a minute, wait in minute, I’m in charge!”

An interesting yet curious find. A compilation which might possibly be a recording of a finely-honed radio variety show of the 1960s, but which we strongly suspect is an edited selection of various live recordings, interlinked by Bruce Forsyth from years ago. And by “strongly suspect” we mean, “unless we’re completely stupid” as the telltale fading up of the “studio” “audience” does rather give the game away.

Now, this possibly doesn’t really qualify as “comedy”, but it’s the inter-song banter from future-Sir, surely-Bruce that makes the whole affair worthy of inclusion (“Now, our next guest has been working with me this past season in pantomime, Val Parnell’s Sleeping Beauty at the London Palladium. Ladies and gentleman, my pal, Edmond Hockridge [cut to a recording clearly recorded from elsewhere of Edmond Hockridge]”). Just where has this recording come from? A light programme off-air from the early 1960s? Surely not, as the banter at the end of track six reveals it’s from a vinyl recording (“now, don’t go away, there’s a lot more to come on the other side. That was the end of part one, no commercials, just turn over quick!”). Tellingly, none of the artists mention the presence of Bruce at all, save for a cleverly re-recorded bit of banter with Petula Clark.

Basically, we suspect this to be a digital-remastered recording of highlights from Sunday Night at the London Palladium, only with fresh-at-the-time introductions tacked on from Brucie, all gleaned from aged LP recordings. Oddly, the artwork – a hugely half-arsed job using a single Photoshop filter* and some freeware typefaces – is clearly modern, and both the Spotify and eMusic release dates suggest this release was only shoved out recently (going by the eMusic release date, on the 6th of October 2009, in fact). All quite strange – anyone know any more? Surely this is from a much-earlier vinyl recording? Could it be something that was recorded but not released at the time? Anyone?

(*And really, it’s very half-arsed. That’s not even Bruce on the artwork, is it? And we’ve had our half-arsed microscopic-indie-label cover art printed in the NME before now, even that was better than the thumbnail up there.)

Brucie? “I lived in a town once… but they moved!”

Ha. Anyway, keep your lug-holes peeled (not to mention peepers, unless you’re blind, in which case we feel all uncomfortable now) for the remainder of our new list, due over the next few days. There’ll be at least one absolute gem on there that you don’t already know about.

Well, only if you’re not already following our Twitter feed (or more pertinently, the Twitter feed of the mighty Sweeping The Nation, as they’d pointed us towards it). Whatever, come back soon, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

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Friday, 23 October 2009

Griffin Ravers

A few thoughts tonight’s Question Time, where Britain’s most prominent comedy fascist, Nick Griffin met a suspiciously tiny audience of Question Time viewers. Seriously, that must have been one of the tiniest crowds we’ve seen for an episode of QT, especially so considering it took place in Television Centre. Next week’s episode from the sleepy north Wales seaside town of Llandudno is likely to have a much larger audience. They should have let some of those people from outside into the studio. They certainly seemed quite keen to attend the recording. Anyway, this is mostly culled lazy from what we’ve said earlier on Twitter, so if you’re following us on there, expect much of this to sound familiar.

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Near the start of the show, Baroness Warsi made a reference to a quote from the BNP’s Mark Collett. The actual transcript goes like this:
Baroness Warsi: “When today we talk about how Churchill is referred to by the BNP, I’d like to refer to one quote, which I’m going to have to have some bleeps in, which is from Mark Collett, who is the BNP’s director of publicity…”
Nick Griffin: “He’s not.”
Baroness Warsi: “He basically said this; “"Churchill was a fucking cunt who led us in to a pointless war against other whites, the Nazis, who were standing up for their race”."
Really, Nick? Because from what we can find, including on far-right website Stormfront.org (link), he actually is the BNP’s Director of Publicity, or at the very, very least was quite recently. We’ve tried to find reference to him on the BNP website, but for some reason the search function isn’t working. Can’t imagine why.

For the record, doing a Google search for the words “Mark”, “Collett” and “BNP” brings up a very interesting web page in second place:

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Far be it from us to reflect on the accuracy of said web page, as we have no idea of the facts involved, but still, interesting.

INTERESTING FUN FACT! We were able to copy and paste the above Collett quote from the NorthWestNationalists blog (who we’re not going to link to, but if you really want to find it it’s easy enough to Google). Entertainingly, they censored the words “fucking” and “cunt”, because naturally they wouldn’t want anyone to get offended by the content of their website, would they?

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It was interesting to note Griffin’s repeated claims that holocaust denial is a crime in the UK, and that as he’s never actually been convicted for the crime of holocaust denial, he surely can’t be a holocaust denier. As every schoolboy knows, it’s only actually a crime in Austria, Germany and France. Anyway, here’s a Fun Fat Hitler Fact for you all: Nick's "Holocaust myth" quote – specifically:
"I am well aware that the orthodox opinion is that six million Jews were gassed and cremated and turned into lampshades. Orthodox opinion also once held that the Earth was flat … I have reached the conclusion that the 'extermination' tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter witch-hysteria."
was from 1998. Now, on tonight’s show he claimed that
"I can't tell you why I used to say those things anymore than I can tell you why I have changed my mind, I can’t tell you the extent to which I’ve changed my mind, because European law prevents me from doing so."
Except, of course, it doesn’t even remotely do so. Anyway, with that in mind, he made no attempt to actually tell us why he did change his mind (our theory: he hasn’t, only he’s realised there aren’t many votes in expressing that sort of thing), other than saying something about hearing about it on  the radio since then. But be fair, when he originally said those words in 1998, Griffin was merely a young and impressionable 39 year old. Why, he was barely out of nappies! We’ll wager that most people say things at the stupidly young age of 39 that they later regret, like “I’ll never buy a pair of slippers!”, “You’ll never catch me listening to Terry Wogan in the mornings”, or “ooh, cheap tripe? Get in!”

Another choice quote from the pudgy nationalist:
“My policy is for a truce with Islam.”
Is that why the BNP website carries juxtaposed imagery of smiling pure and white English children with a shot of hajib-wearing Muslim women, as below? What are they hiding, eh Nick? Why, they aren’t even wearing hajibs with huge St George’s crosses printed on them. Coming over here, hiding their presumably sneering faces, laughing up their sleeves and being given free houses and that.

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At one point, Dimbleby interrupted mass panel disquiet after a Griffin outburst with the words: "If you all attack on different fronts, we'll get nowhere." Sadly, he didn't add "...if Hitler taught us anything, it’s that, eh Nick?"

One point where Griffin really tried to connect with the masses was when he stated, on the subject of homosexuality, how:
“I’ve said that a lot of people find the sight of two grown men kissing in public really creepy. I understand a lot of homosexuals don’t understand that, but a lot of us feel that way. A lot of Christians feel that way, Muslims, all sorts of people.”
From that, we can’t help but wonder if Griffin’s feelings only extend to “grown men kissing in public”. Does he think that if it were two young boys kissing in public, he’d be putting a supportive arm around their shoulders while saying “go on, make the most of it. Why, in a few years what you’re doing now will be wrong, so make hay while the sun shines”? Or does he just spend entire evenings at home, on his own, sitting by his fireplace, thinking vigorously about two grown men kissing each other in public, and pondering just how that makes him feel? Either way, we’re sorely tempted to write a series of slash fiction stories about him and Abu Hamza, just for the sheer heck of it."'Put your hook there and sort of wiggle it about a bit', cooed Nick."

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Sad to say, there are a couple of slightly depressing conclusions to make from tonight’s programme. Firstly, that hundreds of thousands of people will go to work in the morning, and jokingly ask their colleagues if they saw Question Time, only to receive a reply along the lines of “yeah, I thought what he said was too bloody right” from their previously respected co-workers. We frigging hate it when things like that happen.

Secondly, the alarming realisation that for every single person from the “too bloody right” brigade, who’d nodded sagely when Griffin spewed out the bilious theory that gay people are allowed to be gay “as long as they keep it behind closed doors”, their vote come the general election will count just the same as the vote of someone who’d pored over local politics, BBC Parliament coverage, Hansard and Private Eye for the last ten years. Maybe voter apathy isn't always a bad thing...

In summary: sigh. Here’s an entertaining image to end things on a relative high, culled from the pages of B3TA, and Jpeg genius Monkeon:

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Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Channel Four: Programmes Continue Shortly

Sadly, no time to add to our comprehensive series of Channel Four ratings rundown tonight (Reader's voice: "Oh, boo hoo. How will we ever cope?"), which means no excuse to post slightly unflattering photographs of the C4 Top Brass. To hold you over until the big Programme Head-to-Head Battles, here are some adverts, from Channel Four, from 1983. Yay. There's even an advert for the first ever Now That's What I Call Music.



Video uploaded to YouTube by "JayFirestorm".
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Channel Four In Numbers II: Ratingsgeddon

Yes, we know we said ‘more tomorrow’, but we’ve been busy laughing in the face of EU Working Hours legislation. Bwa-ha-ha-hangonwe’rebeingexploited.

Anyway, numbers. Our mammoth listing of eleven years of weekly Channel Four viewing charts takes in 11,736 individual broadcasts, which is possibly about the same as the average lifespan of a shirehorse. A few days ago, we looked at the highest rated programmes, but what of those hearty mainstays? The shows that flutter around the top thirties week in, week out, maybe not quite getting mammoth audiences, but always somehow in your peripheral vision, like a moth waving a flag? What of them, eh? The list contains a grand total of 1,964 different shows, and here are the hundred appearing most frequently in each weekly BARB rundown. Just under a shot of Michael Grade looking a bit dishevelled in 1990.

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“The annual report shoot is today? Frigging heck, I thought it had been postponed until Wednesday.”

Rank Programme Appearances on list Av. Weekly Pos.
1 Hollyoaks 1824 18.74
2 The Simpsons 1257 17.74
3 Countdown 1213 13.24
4 Deal Or No Deal 1040 11.53
5 Big Brother 836 5.74
6 Brookside 575 5.05
7 Richard And Judy 527 23.52
8 Friends 485 14.34
9 Fifteen-To-One 445 23.44
10 Pet Rescue 442 22.36
11 Paul O'Grady 439 15.85
12 A Place In The Sun 249 18.25
13 V Graham Norton 241 15.92
14 Come Dine With Me 240 16.90
15 Frasier 187 15.68
16 Ricki Lake 183 22.07
17 E.R. 163 14.06
18 Time Team 162 15.05
19 Celebrity Big Brother 120 6.87
20 Will And Grace 115 14.43
21 Desperate Housewives 111 11.67
22 Property Ladder 110 7.67
23 Grand Designs 101 4.26
24 Location, Location, Location 95 7.71
25 Sex And The City 90 13.62
26 Scrapheap Challenge 89 14.37
27 Wife Swap 82 11.91
28 Ally McBeal 79 16.41
29 Relocation, Relocation 76 3.62
30 Eurotrash 73 16.68
31 So Graham Norton 69 13.01
32 10 Years Younger 67 12.19
33 Father Ted 66 18.65
34 Cricket Afternoon 66 19.45
35 Big Brother's Little Brother 66 23.42
36 Shameless 65 9.98
37 T.F.I Friday 63 20.13
38 Without A Trace 56 18.79
39 South Park 55 17.62
40 Cutting Edge 54 15.63
41 Lost 52 8.10
42 No Going Back 49 8.33
43 Ugly Betty 49 14.65
44 How Clean Is Your House? 48 11.71
45 Stargate Sg-1 46 20.17
46 8 Out Of 10 Cats 44 10.89
47 You Are What You Eat 42 8.86
48 Selling Houses 42 9.26
49 Montel Williams Show 41 24.56
50 Supernanny 38 5.55
51 Gordon Ramsay's F Word 38 7.08
52 Dispatches 37 19.27
53 Teachers 36 13.56
54 The Salon 34 24.03
55 How Clean Is Your House 33 7.76
56 Secret History 31 17.74
57 Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares 29 3.72
58 The Secret Millionaire 29 4.90
59 Location/Location 29 13.17
60 It's Me Or The Dog 29 13.69
61 The City Gardener 29 14.34
62 Jamie At Home 29 16.07
63 Home From Home 29 25.38
64 How To Look Good Naked 28 8.79
65 Top Tens 28 20.43
66 My Name Is Earl 27 23.26
67 Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares USA 26 4.85
68 The Osbournes 26 12.42
69 Scrubs 26 19.92
70 Channel 4 News 26 22.50
71 Trigger Happy Tv 24 10.58
72 Smack The Pony 23 17.26
73 Driven 23 24.30
74 The Games 22 13.00
75 Secrets Of The Dead 22 13.91
76 Faking It 22 16.82
77 No Angels 22 20.59
78 Enterprise 22 22.00
79 Nypd Blue 22 23.45
80 Bremner, Bird And Fortune 21 23.24
81 Pet Rescuers 21 24.00
82 Room For Improvement 21 24.19
83 Salvage Squad 20 20.55
84 Supersize Vs Superskinny 19 11.63
85 Battle Stations 19 17.37
86 A Place In Greece 19 19.05
87 Heroes Of Comedy 19 20.21
88 Location, Location, Location Revisited 18 6.39
89 Other People's Houses 18 14.22
90 Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights 18 14.39
91 Max & Paddy's Road To Nowhere 17 16.29
92 Spin City 17 20.35
93 The Friday Night Project 17 21.06
94 Real Gardens 17 21.71
95 Equinox 17 21.88
96 Grand Designs Revisited 16 5.63
97 A Place In France 16 8.13
98 Gok's Fashion Fix 16 11.06
99 Football Stories 16 21.44
100 Stargate S G-1 16 22.19

 

And so, despite taking an average weekly position between 18th and 19th in the charts, and featuring lots of characters from Chester (we’re from Wrexham, it’s a local thing), Hollyoaks is the most ever-present show in the BARB hit parade over the last eleven years. That’s a full 567 broadcasts ahead of The Simpsons in second, despite it being, as far as we’ve been able to tell when seeing any of it, well, a bit shite actually.

Other notables: Countdown pipping Deal Or No Deal into third on the list, but given DOND has only been on air for less than half of the period under consideration, well done Noel. Big Brother and Brookside are the only shows in the top twenty to regularly warrant a place in weekly top tens. Meanwhile, Richard And Judy, Fifteen-To-One, Pet Rescue and Ricky Lake make the list of twentymost perma-hits, despite averaging placings in the lower third of each weekly rundown.

Slightly unsuprisingly, Friends is the most popular non-Simpson comedy, clocking up 485 appearance, most of which are repeats, while Frasier only performs slightly less admirably. In the arena of homegrown sitcommery, Father Ted reigns supreme, notching up 66 appearances in the list. That’s especially impressive given that the figures listed on BARB’s website don’t even start until five weeks after the premiere of the last ever Fr Ted episode, meaning that each appearance in the list is from a repeat showing. Indeed, there were only 25 episodes of Ted ever made, compared to 236 episodes of Friends (many of which were first-run). That means the average Ted episode appears 2.64 times on the list, whereas the average Friends ep makes it there just 2.06 times. This means that Craggy Island is officially better than New York. Sort of. In other US sitcom news, the magnificent My Name Is Earl sits in 66th place, narrowly beating the got-annoying-after-four-series Scrubs, yet the only reward both shows received was a sideways shunt onto E4. Bah.

As for US drama shows, E.R. is king, with Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin But With A Skinny American Woman… sorry, Ally McBeal following closely. Without A Trace performs admirably in 42nd place (just in front of the surely-everyone-hated-it-by-then TFI Friday), but Lost performed very well, putting in 52 appearances from the 49 episodes C4 had the rights to, most of which were premiered on E4. After all, Lost isn’t really a show that lends itself to repeat showings.

As for lifestyle shows, there are sterling performances from Pet Rescue, A Place In The Sun, Come Dine With Me, Time Team, Property Ladder, Grand Designs and Location x3. No idea why most of their advertising is from personal injury lawyers and 21st-century-rag-and-bone-men if they’re that popular.

Anyway, enough of annoyingly successful programmes. Here are a few selections from lower down the list that are sure to infuriate you, if you’ve got any sense. So much so, in fact, you might want to post a screenshot of the following table into one of those ha-ha-larious “demotivational poster” memes marked “when you see it, you’ll shit bricks”. Just after a shot of Michael Grade and a great big cake.

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Rank

Programme

Appearances on list

Av. Weekly Pos.

93 The Friday Night Project 17 21.06
136 Bo Selecta! 10 17.80
158 The Kevin Bishop Show 8 17.25
176 The Sunday Night Project 7 20.29
205 Peter Kay's Pheonix Nights 6 22.17
246 Dotcomedy 5 25.20
258 Star Stories 4 8.75
269 The I.T Crowd 4 11.00
299 A Bear's Tail 4 21.25
367 Film: The Net 3 13.67
384 Film: On The Buses 3 16.00
442 Le Show 3 28.00
456 Rude Tube 2 3.50
584 Peep Show 2 16.50
700 Spaced 2 25.50
1793 The Sopranos 1 28.00

 

Interesting for a number of reasons that might want you to think about buying a gun. Spaced clocking in at the 700th position on the list, even though all 14 episodes were first aired in the period under consideration here. Of those 14 episodes, just two made it into the Top Thirty for the weeks of transmission (for the record, w/e 26/9/99, 21st position 2.58m viewers, and w/e 11/3/01, 30th position and 2.37m viewers). Similarly, just two episodes of Peep Show make the weekly thirty (11/8/08, 28th, 1.46m, and 20/9/09, 5th, 2.16m – though that was from the most recent chart we’ve looked at, suggesting more of the current series will be there).

Beating it in the charts: A Bear’s Tail (“Oh no, my tail, which is actually a cock, has popped up for about the billionth week in a row”) appears four times, despite only having a single series, with Bo Selecta!, and its three jokes, appearing ten times. The cocking Friday/Sunday Night Project appear a total of 24 times, even though when they BBC had come up with the Saturday/Friday Night Armistice in the mid/late 90s, it was cancelled before you could say “whore in a helicopter”.

Other good/bad points: The I.T. Crowd being trumped by Star Stories, while Phoenix Nights (and no matter what you think of Peter Kay, the first series was brilliant) is bettered by The Kevin Bishop Show, both by appearances on the chart and average position. Meanwhile, in the world of classic US drama, The Sopranos made it into the Top 30 for a single solitary week, in 28th place.

For comparative purposes, you may also like to note that Peep Show and Spaced, both heralded (with more than a little justification) as modern classics of the sitcom format, have been bettered by well-meaning-but-ultimately-rubbish-Eurotrash-spin-off Le Show (no relation to the ace Harry Shearer show of the same name) and a repeat of the On The Buses film. Now, they aren’t sitcoms, admittedly, but hey, the single series of “grainy RealVideo clips blown up to full screen” internet clip show DotComedy made more appearances in the Channel Four weekly top thirty than both shows combined. The normal rules of logic clearly do not apply here.

Here’s a photo of Adam & Joe to make it all better.

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Want to guess how many times The Adam & Joe Show appeared in the weekly Channel Four Top 30? Series three, four and five were in the in the timeframe applicable to it. So go on, guess. If you said “not even once, and yet a showing of Nuns On The Run made it onto there, for fuckity fuck’s sake”, award yourself a correctness point.

Sigh.

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Monday, 19 October 2009

Channel Four: 1998-2009 In Numbers

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So, our statistical omnibus fetches up at Horseferry Road, and for Channel Four’s viewing figures we’ve really pushed the boat out (Readers voice: “Hang on, is it a bus or a boat?”), nabbing data from as far back as 1998, which is as far back as BARB’s excellent ratings archive stretches. The whole thing takes in 17,535 shows, and means our copy of Excel is running about as fast as, oh we don’t know, Douglas Bader giving Rik Waller a piggyback. However, this does mean we can compile excellent charts like this:

 

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Or even this:

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Based on individual broadcasts, not different shows. The lack of Celebrity Big Brother in 2008 is quite noticeable, isn’t it?

We could kick off by bemoaning the recent output of the network, saying how it used to be truly bleeding edge in the olden days, but as it’s now one of the elder statesmen of this digital age, it seems to have a “broader remit”. That’s a polite way of saying “full of programmes for idiots”, in case you’re a viewer of The Kevin Bishop Show. But that would be spectacularly harsh, clearly. While the channel once proudly broadcast Absolutely, Vic Reeves Big Night Out, Nightingales, Father Ted, Brass Eye et al, it also played host to The Word, Mini Pops, The Word, Club X, RI:SE, The Word and The Word. While we now have to put up with Rude Tube whilst waiting for Peep Show, ten or so years ago there was DotComedy and no Peep Show. So there you go. Anyway, which show wins the battle of “most popular lazily compiled collection of things from the internet”?

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One thing we do love Channel Four unreservedly for, They’ve made the annual reports for every year of the channel’s history available online, so we’re able to pepper the update with pictures of Men In Shirts. Pictures like this one, from 1983:

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HOT TESTCARD CONTROL ROOM ACTION

Anyway, we’ll kick off the update by listing the hundred most-watched Channel Four broadcasts of the last 1.1 decades, as is now traditional. Just after this shot of the Union World team looking moody outside the TUC offices.

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Yay, Bob Greaves!

Rank Show w/date Million viewers
1 Big Brother Final (29/07/01) 13.74
2 Big Brother (28/07/02) 10.01
3 Friends (30/05/04) 9.64
4 Big Brother (17/09/00) 9.45
5 Big Brother (08/08/04) 8.98
6 Celebrity Big Brother (21/01/07) 8.78
7 Big Brother (28/07/02) 8.54
8 Big Brother (20/08/06) 8.2
9 Big Brother (21/07/02) 8.01
10 Big Brother (07/07/02) 7.89
11 Big Brother (17/09/00) 7.87
12 Big Brother (08/08/04) 7.7
13 Big Brother (14/08/05) 7.65
14 Celebrity Big Brother (21/01/07) 7.61
15 Celebrity Big Brother (24/11/02) 7.6
16 Big Brother (14/07/02) 7.45
17 Celebrity Big Brother (07/01/07) 7.32
18 Celebrity Big Brother (29/01/06) 7.31
19 Big Brother (21/07/02) 7.24
20 Big Brother (30/05/04) 7.23
21 Big Brother (27/07/03) 7.23
22 Peter Kay Live (08/08/04) 7.2
23 Big Brother (21/05/06) 7.14
24 Big Brother (14/07/02) 7.07
25 Big Brother (25/05/03) 7.05
26 Big Brother (28/07/02) 7.04
27 Big Brother (21/07/02) 7.04
28 Big Brother (07/07/02) 7.01
29 Big Brother (21/07/02) 7
30 Big Brother (20/06/04) 6.95
31 Big Brother (28/07/02) 6.95
32 Wife Swap (26/10/03) 6.9
33 Big Brother (20/08/00) 6.87
34 Big Brother (28/07/02) 6.85
35 Big Brother (21/07/02) 6.83
36 Big Brother (14/07/02) 6.8
37 Lost (14/08/05) 6.75
38 Lost (14/08/05) 6.75
39 Brookside (22/11/98) 6.72
40 Big Brother (20/06/04) 6.7
41 Celebrity Big Brother (08/01/06) 6.68
42 Big Brother (07/07/02) 6.65
43 Big Brother (14/08/05) 6.63
44 Big Brother (14/08/05) 6.61
45 Big Brother (23/06/02) 6.6
46 Celeb Big Brother (18/03/01) 6.6
47 Big Brother (03/06/07) 6.59
48 Big Brother (18/07/04) 6.58
49 Big Brother (01/08/04) 6.57
50 Big Brother (03/07/05) 6.55
51 Film: Bridget Jones's Diary (14/11/04) 6.54
52 Friends (28/07/02) 6.52
53 Big Brother (14/07/02) 6.5
54 Big Brother (16/06/02) 6.49
55 Friends (13/12/98) 6.49
56 Big Brother (30/06/02) 6.48
57 Big Brother (07/07/02) 6.45
58 Big Brother (14/07/02) 6.44
59 Big Brother (20/08/06) 6.43
60 Celebrity Wife Swap (16/11/03) 6.43
61 Big Brother (30/06/02) 6.43
62 Big Brother (30/06/02) 6.42
63 Big Brother (16/06/02) 6.42
64 Big Brother Live (08/08/04) 6.41
65 Big Brother (18/07/04) 6.41
66 Big Brother (17/07/05) 6.4
67 Big Brother (30/06/02) 6.38
68 Big Brother (18/06/06) 6.35
69 Big Brother (27/07/03) 6.34
70 Big Brother (14/07/02) 6.32
71 Big Brother (07/07/02) 6.3
72 Big Brother (16/06/02) 6.3
73 Wife Swap (19/10/03) 6.28
74 Big Brother (25/07/04) 6.27
75 Big Brother (18/07/04) 6.27
76 Big Brother (25/07/04) 6.26
77 Peter Kays Britain's Got The Pop Factor (12/10/08) 6.25
78 Jamie's Kitchen (15/12/02) 6.25
79 Big Brother (02/07/06) 6.24
80 Big Brother Live (13/06/04) 6.24
81 Big Brother (20/06/04) 6.22
82 Big Brother (30/06/02) 6.21
83 Big Brother (13/07/03) 6.17
84 Big Brother (16/07/06) 6.16
85 Celebrity Big Brother (29/01/06) 6.16
86 Brookside (09/01/00) 6.15
87 Big Brother (20/06/04) 6.13
88 Big Brother (23/06/02) 6.12
89 Big Brother (22/07/01) 6.12
90 Celeb Big Brother (18/03/01) 6.11
91 Brookside (12/11/00) 6.11
92 Celebrity Big Brother (29/01/06) 6.09
93 Big Brother (16/06/02) 6.09
94 Big Brother (04/07/04) 6.07
95 Big Brother (29/05/05) 6.04
96 Brookside (12/11/00) 6.04
97 Big Brother (28/07/02) 6.03
98 Big Brother (23/06/02) 6.03
99 Big Brother (08/08/04) 6.02
100 Brookside (03/01/99) 6.02

Quite heavily dominated by a certain realty show behemoth, isn’t it? Here then is a top 200 (two hundred!), taking in the average viewing figures of each show. We’ve added a column showing how many broadcasts each average is gleaned from. When compiling the figures, we have tried our best to mark up any films with the prefix “Film:”, as the BARB listings only did so for the last few years. Please forgive us if we’ve missed any.

  Programme Viewers (m) Showings
1 Peter Kay Live 5.64 2
2 Escape From Colditz 5.61 3
3 Film: Elf 5.54 2
4 The Boy Who Gave Birth To His Brother 5.41 1
5 Bodyshock: Half Ton Man 5.14 1
6 Wild Child 5.07 1
7 Film: Bridget Jones's Diary 4.83 2
8 The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off 4.75 1
9 Relocation, Relocation, Relocation 4.56 2
10 Real Queen Mother 4.55 1
11 Peter Kays Britain's Got The Pop Factor 4.53 2
12 Super Size Me 4.47 1
13 Da Ali G Show 4.44 7
14 Jamie's School Dinners 4.43 5
15 Geri 4.37 1
16 Celebrity Big Brother 4.27 120
17 Big Brother's Efourum 4.24 1
18 Merlin 4.23 3
19 Film: Miracle On 34th Street 4.20 1
20 Big Brother 4.16 836
21 Derren Brown: The Event 4.14 2
22 Diana: The Witnesses In The Tunnel 4.11 1
23 Return To Jamie's Kitchen 4.10 2
24 The Real Heather Mills 4.07 1
25 Extraordinary Breastfeeding 4.07 1
26 Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares 4.06 29
27 Station X 4.06 4
28 Brookside 4.06 575
29 Jamie's Fowl Dinners 4.05 1
30 Big Brother Sunday Psych Show 4.04 1
31 Drop/Dead Donkey 4.03 7
32 Six Wives/Henry Viii 4.01 4
33 Striptease 4.00 1
34 Jamie Cooks Christmas 3.98 1
35 The 1900 House 3.98 10
36 Real Story/Airtours 3.97 1
37 Scrapheap Megachallenge 3.97 1
38 Alice In Wonderland 3.96 1
39 Big Chef Takes On Little Chef 3.94 3
40 Celebrity Frock Ups 3.93 1
41 Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares Revisited 3.93 2
42 Who Got Benny's Millions? 3.89 1
43 Wallis Simpson 3.88 1
44 Ah So Graham Norton 3.88 1
45 River Cottage Christmas Feast 3.82 2
46 Sex And The City Farewell 3.79 1
47 Riddle Of Pompeii 3.76 1
48 100 Great/Moments 3.76 2
49 Grand Designs 3.73 101
50 Battle/Hood/Bismarck 3.73 2
51 Private Parts 3.73 3
52 Relocation, Relocation 3.72 76
53 Shackleton 3.71 2
54 Film: Fahrenheit 9/11 3.70 1
55 Perfect Breasts 3.70 1
56 The Real Paula Yates 3.69 1
57 Bodyshock: The Man Who Slept For 19 Year 3.67 1
58 Film: Austin Powers 3.66 3
59 Jamie's Return To School Dinners 3.66 1
60 Bodyshock: I Am The Elephant Man 3.65 1
61 Shipwrecked 3.64 11
62 How Clean Is Your House 3.63 33
63 Film: Notting Hill 3.62 5
64 Supernanny 3.61 38
65 Film: Shallow Hal 3.61 2
66 The Last Flight Of Bomber 31 3.60 1
67 Film: Breakdown 3.59 1
68 Jamie's Kitchen 3.58 10
69 Grand Designs Abroad 3.58 7
70 My Fake Baby 3.58 1
71 Carry On Snogging 3.57 1
72 Mindshock: Feral Children 3.57 1
73 Britain's Got The Pop Factor Final 3.56 1
74 To The End Of The Earth 3.56 1
75 You Are What You Eat Special 3.56 2
76 Jack & Sarah 3.54 2
77 Riddle Of The Elephant Man 3.53 1
78 Wife Swap Changed Our Marriage 3.53 2
79 To Die For 3.52 1
80 What Really Happened: Michael Jackson 3.52 1
81 Film: Michael 3.51 2
82 Film: My Best Friend's Wedding 3.50 4
83 Fat Pets 3.49 1
84 Snow White 3.48 1
85 Designer Vaginas 3.48 1
86 Life Before Birth 3.47 1
87 Robbie: Live At Knebworth 3.45 1
88 The Ultimate Chart 3.45 2
89 How The Twin Towers Collapsed 3.45 2
90 Whitney Houston: The True Story 3.43 1
91 Krakatoa 3.43 1
92 Derren Brown: The Event Live 3.42 1
93 Strictly Baby Ballroom 3.42 1
94 Brat Camp 3.41 15
95 The Hole 3.40 1
96 Real Prince Philip 3.40 3
97 Film: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3.40 2
98 Hugh's Chicken Run 3.39 4
99 Bodyshock: Born With Two Heads 3.38 1
100 Euroballs '98 3.37 1
101 Freddie Starr Ate My 3.37 1
102 Trigger Happy Tv 3.37 24
103 Half Ton Mum 3.36 2
104 Lost 3.35 52
105 Gordon Ramsay's F Word 3.34 38
106 Peter Kay Live At The Manchester Arena 3.34 3
107 Film: Sleepy Hollow 3.34 3
108 The Hunt For Lord Lucan 3.34 1
109 Property Ladder Revisited 3.34 13
110 Ramsay's Great British Nightmare 3.32 1
111 The Real Gary Glitter 3.31 1
112 Victoria's Secrets 3.31 2
113 101 Embarrassing Sexual Accidents 3.30 1
114 What Happened To Slimmers Of The Year? 3.30 1
115 Big Brother The Swap 3.28 1
116 My Breasts Are Too Big 3.28 1
117 The Real Princess Anne 3.27 1
118 The Real Crawfie 3.27 1
119 Tales From River Cottage 3.27 10
120 Film: Gladiator 3.26 2
121 1940 House 3.26 5
122 World/Watching/Big B 3.25 1
123 The Real Da Vinci Code 3.25 2
124 Seven Days That Shook Coronation Street 3.25 1
125 Snowden And Margaret: Inside A Royal Wed 3.25 1
126 The Secret Millionaire 3.25 29
127 100 Greatest Tv Ads 3.24 3
128 Bodyshock: The Girl With 8 Limbs 3.24 1
129 A Very British Ufo Hoax 3.24 1
130 Film: Final Destination 3.23 2
131 Location, Location, Location Revisited 3.23 18
132 In Memoriam September 11, 2001 3.22 1
133 Make Me A Man 3.22 2
134 Titanic Live 3.21 2
135 Big Brother Celebrity Hijack 3.21 1
136 You Are What You Eat 3.21 42
137 Film: Night At The Museum 3.21 2
138 Best Of T.Cooper 3.20 1
139 Aileen:Life And Death Of A Serial Killer 3.19 1
140 Location, Location, Location 3.19 95
141 Universe 3.18 4
142 9/11: 102 Minutes That Changed America 3.17 1
143 How Clean Are The F***Ing Fulfords? 3.17 1
144 Jamie's Chef 3.17 4
145 Jamie's American Road Trip 3.16 1
146 Plague/Fire/War/Tre 3.15 3
147 The Queen Mother In Love 3.15 1
148 Grand Designs Revisited 3.15 16
149 Film: Touching The Void 3.14 1
150 100 Greatest Cartoons 3.14 1
151 Prince Eddy: The King We Never Had 3.14 1
152 Ten Years Younger Celebrity Special 3.13 1
153 In Excess:M.Hutchenc 3.13 1
154 Queer As Folk 3.12 8
155 One Hundred And Eighty: The Tour Documen 3.12 3
156 Beyond River Cottage 3.12 10
157 Alex Best: My Life With George 3.11 1
158 David Blaine's Vertigo 3.11 1
159 Big Fat Quiz Of The Year 3.10 1
160 The Real Michael Barrymore 3.10 1
161 The Truth About Gay Sex - Women 3.10 1
162 Secret Intersex 3.10 2
163 Super Size Kids 3.10 2
164 Equinox Special: Wave Shook The World 3.09 1
165 Joy Of Sex 3.09 1
166 Scrapheap Challenge Christmas Special 3.09 1
167 Seven Days That Shook The Weathermen 3.08 1
168 Film: Final Destination 2 3.08 1
169 What Jade Did Next 3.08 1
170 Derren Brown: Seance 3.08 1
171 Celebrity Wife Swap 3.07 9
172 Inside Big Brother 3.06 1
173 The 9/11 Faker 3.06 1
174 You Are What You Eat Revisited 3.06 1
175 Death On The Nile 3.06 1
176 Wife Swap 3.06 82
177 Elizabeth I 3.06 2
178 Robbie Williams/Conc 3.05 1
179 Sotd: Titanic's Ghosts 3.05 1
180 Big Brother Winner Show 3.05 1
181 Derren Brown Plays Russian Roulette Live 3.05 1
182 9/11: The Miracle Of Stairway B 3.05 1
183 Property Ladder 3.04 110
184 Film: The Full Monty 3.04 4
185 P.Zenon's Tricky Chr 3.04 1
186 Gok Wan: Too Fat Too Young 3.04 1
187 The Killing Secret 3.04 1
188 The Queen's Lost Uncle 3.04 3
189 Film: Porridge 3.04 2
190 Best And Worst Places To Live In The Uk 3.03 3
191 As Good As It Gets 3.03 1
192 Killer Queen! 3.03 1
193 Return To Loch Ness 3.02 1
194 Film: Monster-In-Law 3.02 1
195 100 Greatest No.1's 3.02 4
196 The Real Oliver Reed 3.02 1
197 Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares Usa 3.02 26
198 Film: The Day After Tomorrow 3.02 3
199 The Coroner 3.01 3
200 Roswell 3.01 1

 

So, a few surprises there. The film version of Porridge proving more popular than the woeful but big budget The Day After Tomorrow. Big Brother (836 episodes!) finishing below Celebrity Big Brother. Brookside putting in a very reasonable performance, given that it was supposed to have died on it’s arse over the last years of its life. For the record, Hollyoaks in the 912th place on our list.

Anyway, with these cumbersome tables making Windows Live Writer seem a bit unstable, we’ll round things off for now. We’ll be back tomorrow (or the day after) with more programme specific information. Not to mention more pictures like this of Jeremy Isaacs:

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What’s he writing? We need a closer look.

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His pen isn’t even the right way up? Man, no wonder MiniPops got commissioned. Back tomorrow! Or the day after!

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Thursday, 15 October 2009

Brooker Scanorama: Frozen Dinners And Pac-Man Stickers

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It’s been a while since we promised another bunch of Charlie Brooker PC Zone scans, so it’s probably time we made good on our promise, and not purely because we can’t be bothered doing an update that involves “thinking” or “having opinions about stuff”. Here are a few scanned articles from October 1996, a curious age where references to ill-fated Conservative Party campaign slogans could adorn the cover of videogame magazines, and there would be far too many flight simulators. What was the fascination, eh? Mind you, now you can buy a bus simulator for the PC, so it’s not as if society has progressed that much. Yes, really.

First up, “That Was Then, Is This Now?” a misty-eyed look back at some elderly games, and their then-modern counterparts. Includes some Pac-Man stickers, which we went mental for when we were seven years old.  Think of it as a very, very early draft of the look back at the history of videogaming from Gameswipe, before it was redrafted to appeal to people who like Charlie Brooker so much, they’ll watch him presenting a show about a subject they’ve absolutely no interest in.

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Next, a review of Syndicate Wars, which we’re saying wasn’t as good as the original. The fact that the sequel was in ‘proper’ 3D (still a relatively new thing at the time) possibly boosted up the score at the end, or maybe we’re just wrong about videogames. Both are equally likely.

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Finally, a Cybertwats strip. It’d be nice if someone scanned up the early Cybertwats cartoons – we only started buying PCZ around this time, and so have never seen them. Extra bonus points for anyone pointing us toward a scan of Brooker’s “Cruelty Zoo” strip, deemed so controversial it had to be physically torn out of most copies of PC Zone before they could be sold.

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No, hang on. Here’s “Cruelty Zoo”, right here. Nothing controversial about that, is there?
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