The most watched shows of 2008

Well, Christmas is well and truly over now but on the big day, Wallace and Gromit was the most watched show achieving viewing figures of 14.3 million with Doctor Who coming second and watched by 11.7 million viewers.

But what else made ‘most watched’ in 2008?

We took a look at viewing figures from a variety of sources and some of the results may surprise you!

For instance, it surprised me to learn that – based on research by MPG from Barb audience data – Adrian Chiles was the most watched TV presenter of the year with Philip Schofield in second place.

As to other TV viewing figures, Strictly Come Dancing and its spin off shows is officially the most watched show globally and another Saturday show that gets high viewing figures is the The National Lottery Draw; it gets an average of 8.6 million viewers every weekend.

During Wimbledon 2008, British hopeful Andy Murray’s four hour fight to reach the quarter-finals started at 5.30pm and ended at 9.35pm victoriously.

He came back from being two sets down to beat Richard Gasquet on Monday June 30th, and it was watched by an average audience of 8.6 million.

Another sporting event that got a big audience share for the day it aired was the Brazilian Grand Prix where the UK’s Lewis Hamilton drove like the wind. Coverage of the race on ITV1 drew an average audience of 8.8 million which was a 41% share on November 2nd.

However, they were both trounced by the Uefa Champions League when the final in Moscow was aired between Chelsea and Manchester United. It attracted huge audience of 9.6 million on May 21st.

In drama, the penultimate episode of New Tricks achieved viewing figures that outweighed Corrie that night with an audience of 8.9 million.

It was beaten in viewing figure terms though by the fourth series finale of Doctor Who which pulled in an audience of 9.4 million which equated to a 46% share on July 5th this year.

Reality TV got more than its fair share of viewers this year and the episode of The Apprentice that saw Lee McQueen beating Claire Young to be hired by Sir Alan had 8.9 million viewers which was a 37% share of all viewers on June 11th 2008.

I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here got a whopping audience of 9.6 million on November 29th – which was a 40% share of the viewing audience – and surprisingly, the Children In Need show only narrowly beat this by having an audience of 9.7 million.

One of the most hyped and watched shows of all year though was the episode of Antiques Roadshow which boasted it had ‘found’ its first £1 million item and 10.1 million of us tuned in to see this item thinking it was one of AR’s classic It’s-Been-In-My-Attic-For-Years moments only to be disappointed when it turned out to be a council owned replica of The Angel of the North.

The final of Dancing On Ice beat them all when it aired on Sunday March 16th and showed Suzanne Shaw winning the competition pulled in an average audience of 11.7 million.

The daddy of reality TV viewing figures though was achieved by The X Factor final when Alexandra Burke won the million pound recording contract and was watched by 13.5 million of us.

Britain’s Got Talent finale came second which saw George Sampson coming out victorious. 13.1 million of us tuned in to watch that.

In third place was Strictly Come Dancing’s finale when Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup beat Rachel Stevens and Vincent Simone to win. It aired on December 20th, with an average audience of 12.2 million which was a whopping 50% share of the audience that night.

In soaps, the episode in Eastenders when Tanya buried Max alive had an average audience of 11.4 million, so as a nation, we’re obviously more interested in watching a love rat get his comeuppance than almost anything else!

However, on January 18th, Vera’s death in Coronation Street had an audience of 12.4 million.

It’s been quite surprising to find out which were the most watched shows; which of these has been your favourite this year?

I know for me, the one I was definitely expecting to come out on top was The X Factor, and deservedly so, but the top rated show I was most disappointed in was the Antiques Roadshow episode. I was hoping for some impoverished old dear suddenly becoming rich!

Maybe this year?!

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.