jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG 28th August 2019

Over the 7 decades I have experience of life I have been aware of a lot of TV. The technology has changed unbelievably over that time, but so have the TV programmes.

As an enthusiast of all media and 20th/21st social history, earlier in the year, I produced a list of the most watched programmes in each year for my three score years and ten. But last week I found a similar list on the internet. Here’s a combination of the two.

The results show the changes in culture and taste.


1952: Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (BBC) 8m

1949-51, 1953-54 Only BBC TV no figures available.

1955: Sunday Palladium (ITV)

1956: The Gang Show (ITV)

1957: Take Your Pick (ITV), 3.2m It was ITV’s flagship show and the first British TV game show to offer cash prizes.


1958: Dotto (ITV), 4.9m  A hugely successful game show – but it only ran for two years.

1959: Wagon Train (ITV), 6.1m  The story of America’s mass migration in the 19th century

1960: The Cupboard (ITV), 7.7m An episode of Armchair Theatre

1961: The Royal Variety Show (ITV), 8.4m Dame Shirley Bassey or plain Shirley Bassey starred.


1962: Labour Party Broadcast (BBC/ITV), 8.2m Though Coronation Street actually pipped it with 8.4m

1963: The Royal Variety Show (ITV) with the Beatles, 10.4m.

1964: Steptoe And Son (BBC), 9.7m

1965: Take Your Pick (ITV), 8.4m

1966: Secombe And Friends (ITV), 9.4m That’s Harry Secombe, formerly of The Goon Show.

1967: Sunday Night At The London Palladium (ITV) With Rolling Stones 9.1m but technically Corrie again, with 9.4m.


1968: Eurovision Song Contest (BBC), 9.4m Massiel won for Spain with ‘La, La, La’, beating Cliff Richard’s ‘Congratulations’ by one point.


1969: In Loving Memory (ITV), 8.6m Sitcom set in an undertakers, with Thora Hird.

1970: Miss World (ITV), 24m

1971: Benny Hill Show (ITV) The king of slapstick.

1972: Eurovision Song Contest (BBC) Greek singer Vicky Leandros, representing Luxembourg, won with ‘Après

1973: Eurovision Song Contest (BBC) Another win for Luxembourg, with Anne-Marie David’s ‘Tu Te Reconnaîtras’. Cliff came third this time (with ‘Power to All Our Friends’.)


1974: This is Your Life (ITV), 9.4m  The show ran from 1955 (with a five-year break after ’64) with Eamonn Andrews as host, though Michael Aspel took over in 1987. It continued till 2003 and came back briefly in 2007.

1975: Love Thy Neighbour (ITV), 9.2m Sitcom about race relations in Twickenham. Very much “of its time”… You could not get away with it now – you would not want to get away with it now, it was distasteful to put it very mildly. Times have changed for the good.


1976: Goldfinger (the movie) (ITV), 9.8m

1977: The Mike Yarwood Christmas Show (BBC), 21.4m Impressions were big business in those days. No.2 was Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show


1978: This is Your Life (ITV), 19.6m Actually Coronation Street again, with 20.2m.

1979: BBC News – Murder of Lord Mountbatten (BBC), 26m

1980: This is Your Life (ITV), 18.8m  Coronation Street, actually – with 19m

1981: Jaws (Movie) (ITV), 23.3m.

1982: The Spy Who Loved Me (Movie) (ITV), 22.9m

1983: Superman (Movie) (ITV), 16.75m

1984: The Royal Variety Performance with Keith Harris & Orville(BBC), 20.6m

1985: Wish You Were Here (ITV), 18.9m Actually the winner was the new soap EastEnders, 23.6m viewers.

1986: Just Good Friends (BBC), 20.75m (Sit Com) Actually it was EastEnders again, with 30.15m.

1987: A Question of Sport (BBC), 26.65m EastEnders, really – 28m viewers. But QoS did so well because Princess Anne was a guest.


1988: Bread (BBC), 20.95m EastEnders was the actual biggest, with 28m

1989: Crocodile Dundee (Movie) (BBC1), 21.77m  I love the quip written with this: “This would be a reality show today, right?”


1990: Only Fools And Horses (BBC1), 17.97m Neighbours was the most popular show of the year, with 21.16m

1991: London’s Burning (ITV), 18.86m Coronation Street actually got the top spot: 20.45m viewers.

1992: Only Fools And Horses (BBC1), 20.14m Coronation Street, technically – 20.45m viewers

1993: One Foot in The Algarve (BBC1), 20.01m  Coronation Street took the crown, with 20.73m viewers.

1994: Torvill and Dean – Olympic Ice Dance Championship (BBC1), 23.95m

1995: Panorama Special: Princess Diana (BBC1), 22.78m

1996: Only Fools and Horses (BBC1), 24.35m The final ever episode (before it returned five years later).

1997: Funeral of Diana Princess of Wales (BBC1), 19.29m

1998: World Cup: England v Argentina (ITV), 23.78m

1999: Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (ITV), 19.21m Though Coronation Street won out with 19.82m viewers.

2000: Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (ITV), 15.88m Coronation Street again – 18.96m viewers.

2001: Only Fools And Horses (BBC1), 21.35m

2002: Only Fools And Horses (BBC1), 17.40m

2003: Only Fools And Horses (BBC1), 16.37m Coronation Street actually did better, with 19.43m viewers.

2004: Euro 04: England vs Portugal (BBC1), 20.66m

2005: I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! (ITV), 12.35m Coronation Street was bigger14.36m viewers.

2006: World Cup: England vs Sweden (ITV1), 18.46m

2007: Doctor Who (BBC1), 13.31m EastEnders did better – 14.38m viewers

2008: Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death (BBC1), 16.15m

2009: Britain’s Got Talent (ITV), 18.29m

2010: X Factor Results (ITV), 16.55m  This is One Direction “not winning” The X Factor

2011: The Royal Wedding (BBC1), 13.59m His Royal Cambridgeness and the Duchess of Kate.

2012: Olympics 2012: Closing Ceremony (BBC1), 24.46m Even though the opening ceremony was a billion times better than the closing, everyone was much more excited by the end than at the beginning.


2013: New Year’s Eve Fireworks (BBC1), 13.53m

2014: World Cup 2014: Germany vs Argentina (BBC1), 14.96m

2015: The Great British Bakeoff (BBC1), 15.05m Go Nadia!

2016: The Great British Bake Off (BBC1), 15.9m Go Candice!

2017: Blue Planet II (BBC1), 14.01m

2018: World Cup 2018: Croatia vs England (ITV), 20.7m – Regular TV top rated include Bodyguard 14.3 million (BBC 1) I’m A Celebrity 13.7 million (ITV), Strictly Come Dancing 12.9 million (BBC 1)

2019: (So far) Line of Duty – 12.1 million (BBC 1)

Steptoe & Son



“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.” – Terry Pratchett


Happiness is…classic TV (usually comedy or documentary).


Disneyland. The world’s biggest people trap, built by a mouse.


Love is…when just being together is enough


Yesterday Man – Chris Andrews

Highest Chart Position: No.3 11th November 1965



Wednesday 28th August 2019

Bow Tie Day

Race Your Mouse Around The Icons Day

Radio Commercials Day

Crackers Over The Keyboard Day

Cherry Turnover Day







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