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!

4 comments:

scissorkicks said...

In Club X's defence - they had The Beatnigs on playing live. That's all I've got, though.

Stuart Ian Burns said...

In DotComedy's defence, it didn't just string YouTube clips together with a 'zany' voiceover. It had proper studio discussions & interviews with people about the things they were doing. Plus it was introduced by Chris Addison and Gail Porter who are gods (and Twitter gods now).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taWeWgPGvsM

Clearly the best bit was when the rummaged through people's favourites and made fun of the pr0n sites.

Anonymous said...

Yay! Bob Greaves!! And to his left is current silver-haired curmudgeon Peter Allen off the Radio 5.

Union World! Why this was axed is beyond me!

Stuart said...

Browsing through the Annual Reports I wonder why there's a picture 'On the set of Loose Women' in the 1999 report?