Weaver's Week 2022-01-02

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Let's look at the game shows to define 2021. As last year, we're going to cover genres by their most significant commission. Not necessarily the biggest, not always the best, but the most important.

2021 began on 1 January. Before night had properly fallen, the first significant show had landed.


Daytime: Lingo (ITV)

It's a fast-moving game full of words and drawing balls from a hopper. Contestants are given the starting letter of a word, and guess a word that might fit. If they're wrong, they're given clues as to which letters are right, or are somewhere else in the word. Complete the word in five guesses to win points, and convert them into cash at the end of the game.

Lingo An old Radio 2 presenter?

This column spent two weeks watching editions of Lingo through time, because the format has been around since the mid-80s. We found that it became incredibly popular amongst Dutch speakers, it holds the same place in their heart as Countdown does over here. And, truth to tell, we weren't terribly impressed by ITV's version. It goes on too long – contestants get a whole ten seconds to name their word, everywhere else they have to be done in half that time. There's no bingo element, the show doesn't have enough variety to fill a whole hour, and Adil keeps chattering while the contestants are thinking.

But this column is unusual. Nobody else remembers Thames's one-series peaktime version in summer 1988. Nobody will discuss the relative merits of Robert ten Brink and Lucille Werner's hosting. People watched the show in surprisingly large numbers. It was friendly, anyone could play along (and if you didn't know the word, there's another one in a minute). A second series followed in the autumn, with some episodes this week slipping out at the primetime hour of 5.30.

The Answer Trap It's an Answer Trap, and you've been caught.

We'd love to say that The Answer Trap (C4) was one of the year's most important formats. An effortlessly elegant show, it features gentle competition between Bobby Seagull and Frank Paul, with that nice Anita Rani keeping everyone in their place.

The questions were fun: a grid of things appeared, with two (later three) categories to sort them into. But beware, some of the items don't fit into any category, and too many of those will put you out of the game. The format allows a lot of ground to be covered – dog breeds, cheese, Chelsea footballers, Made in Chelsea stars, things Rick Astley would never do. With good care, this could be a daytime Only Connect. But 3pm is a death slot, and The Answer Trap seems to have fallen into its own holes.

Moneybags What you must do is watch Craig's Moneybags.

We fear the same fate will befall Moneybags (C4). Craig Charles invites players to make snap decisions, is this answer in the category he's talking about? The show talked a lot about its big prizes – a million pounds was in play every week – but the actual prizes tended to be in the thousands. Again, were this show on another channel, or the competition were less stiff, it might have found an audience.

As it is, the established shows – Tenable and the returning Winning Combination at 3pm, Tipping Point at 4, Antiques Road Trip and The Bidding Room at 4.30, and The Chase and Pointless after 5 – leave very little room for innovation. BBC1 tried The Tournament and Unbeatable, but neither proved at all memorable.

Shoulder-peak: Lightning (BBC2)

About twenty years ago, BBC2 lost rights to show The Simpsons. The everyday cartoon of simple folk had played at 6pm every weeknight for years, bringing reliable ratings to the second channel. When it went, BBC2 didn't quite know what to do. They tried many things – some of them worth watching, but many quite forgettable. Eventually, BBC2 settled down with the solid and unspectacular Eggheads, plus a spin-off show for Strictly Come Dancing in season.

House of Games (3) Well done if you got that at home

A few years ago, BBC2 gave the green light to a short pilot series with Richard Osman. House of Games (3) kept the same celebrities for a week, gave them gentle brainteasers to unscramble, and let us watch the action. The show's become a sleeper hit, capturing the public attention with friendly competition, fondue sets, knowledge of Kazakhstan, and the wheeley luggage. The autumn combination – House of Games plus Dancing on Two – is a fun and entertaining alternative to the news.

This year, Lightning added itself into the mix. A game of quickfire questions, it tests knowledge and luck. Zoe Lyons is the personable host, she brings out the contestants' personalities through small chats between the rounds.

Lightning What sort of host is Zoe? D-A-Z-Z-L-I-N-G.

But a host is only one part of the show. Another is the structure, and Lightning is brilliant. Round one: introduce the idea, give a correct answer, pass the light. Round two: a more difficult example, two correct answers to move on. Then there are variations on the theme: clues to the same answer, and then a physical challenge. This-or-that questions, everything's written with some wit and verve.

And then there's the keynote round for Lightning: answer a question, and spell it. The words are interesting to spell – not traps, Richard Osman guards those well – but words that need a bit of thought to spell. The top prize is £3000, most shows end with a win of around £1000.

Eggheads Cracking stuff.

Having been taken off the boil by BBC2, Eggheads returned to Channel 5 in the autumn. Ratings were gently encouraging: it went out in the difficult 6.30 slot, opposite ratings bankers The News Where You Are, Strictly With Rylan, and Hollyoaks. The raw score – around half-a-million, rising slightly after the clocks went back – is nothing special in the grand scheme of things. But it's about three times what Channel 5 used to get at 6.30, and it proves that the Eggheads audience is loyal enough to follow the show wherever it ends up.

Channel 5 sees Eggheads as a success, and we agree with their assessment. The producers are casting for a new series, and Channel 5 is seeking "other quizzes" that might fit into that slot. As for the new Eggheads: it's the old Eggheads, but with one of the specialist rounds removed and replaced by an advert break. We think it helps the show, as it's less repetitive.

Take a Hike No bridge too far.

Back to BBC2, where Am Dro! came to anglophone television. Under the prosaic title Take a Hike, the show invites people to lead a four-mile walk around a place important to them. The other walkers award marks, in the style of Channel 4's long-running Come Dine with Me. C4 itself tried The Perfect Pitch, which was really an outdoor activity show with a very flimsy competition.

ITV2: Apocalypse Wow

Love it, hate it, ignore it, we can't ignore that Love Island is a massive hit. No other television show is able to command the public attention from start to finish. Folk are interested in the couplings, uncouplings, and whatever shunting they get up to in the bedrooms. Ratings don't lie: more people watch Love Island than BBC1's Eastenders.

Apocalypse Wow It's a donkey, it's got no legs missing... yet...

Flush with this success, ITV2 has been given permission to make some other shows with a (relatively) generous budget. The Cabins was the first on our screens, a wintry scene involving various couples who might be able to make a relationship while in a country cabin. A second series will reach our screens early in 2022.

We don't expect another run of Ready to Mingle, another relationship show where they try to deduce who is genuine and who is faking a relationship. Ratings don't lie: more people watch the Welsh-language soap Pobol y Cwm than some episodes of Ready to Mingle. The same idea was used on Channel 4's The Love Trap, with a more heavy-handed presentation: contestants were eliminated from the game by falling through a trap door, after which ITV2's show had to look tame.

Apocalypse Wow The house band.. no! it's the team!

The most intriguing show was Apocalypse Wow, which pitted celebrities against remarkable trained athletes, and offered cash to emulate them. The stunts were grubby, the show's atmosphere was wholly unique. Scarlett Moffatt grapples with a grease wrestler! The Vivienne tries to deposit her horn! Kimberley Wyatt becomes a human pinata! It's absolutely absurd, and made with just the right sort of knowing wink: everyone involved knows it's absurd, but they're not going to mention it.

Comedy quizzes: Quizness (C4)

The most confident first episode of the year, Quizness burst onto our screen in May. This column tried to do the ironing while watching the show: we stopped before the first ad break, we were laughing too much.

Quizness Tom Allen, quizzing at all angles.

Quizness moves at a breathless pace. Substitutions – replacing sensible answers with silly words – forms the heart of the show, but there are also answers to build up a phrase, a round where almost all the answers are the same, some surreal shifting, spoonerisms, and puns.

The show is more than its questions. Tom Allen hosts with a dapper grace, a suave wit, we've finally found a quiz he was born to host. The contestants were well-cast, bright and brash and up for the unexpected. And every last second of the show wants to make us laugh.

And nobody watched it. Friday nights at 8pm wasn't the right slot. Perhaps a repeat run at a later hour would be in order.

I Literally Just Told You I'd beg for some forgiveness, but begging's not my business.

Perhaps 10pm on Thursday, after I Literally Just Told You has finished its run. This show is hosted by Jimmy Carr, we'll have a full review later in the month, but it's already reduced Jimmy to his knees, begging for someone – anyone! – to end this madness.

I Literally Just Told You is one of three great formats this year, all from the mind of Richard Bacon. The sometime Blue Peter presenter also gave us This is My House (BBC1), fun as a celebrity panel tries to work out who really lives in a house. And he's invented The Hustler (ABC (Disney)), a game of bluff and double-bluff that surely fits on to BBC2 or Channel 4 over here. Channel 4 is on a roll, its primetime schedule seems to be getting a sense of purpose and clarity that's been missing since Big Brother went haywire.

Question Team Tool academy.

Other broadcasters have got in on the comedy quiz act. Question Team (Dave) is well worth a look, celebrities write questions on their specialist subject, dress them up and present them however they like. Want a DIY lesson with Bob Mortimer? We've got it.

Even Radio 4 had a comedy quiz. The Birthday Cake Game was hosted by Richard Osman, a gentle chat with three panellists as they try to establish the age of celebrities and other famous people. It's more fun than Quote... Unquote, which came to an end after 45 successful years.

Primetime failures: Bank Balance (BBC1)

Some shows don't get 45 successful minutes. Bank Balance came onto our screens one Wednesday night, and lost viewers from the get-go. The idea is simple enough: get questions right to stack bars on a teetery-topply thing, but try to avoid making the teetery-topply thing teeter so much that any of the bars topple.

Bank Balance Wobble. Wobble.

But everything else about the show is designed to suck all the fun out of it. The rules are over-complicated and faffy – every second explaining the rules is a second we're not seeing some action. The camera angles are atrocious, they can never get the right shot without someone sticking their head in the way. The rules don't allow for partial wins, and Gordon Ramsay is out of his depth as a game show host.

The result is a dispiriting game. It can be lost in the first minute of play, but it's played out to its inevitable losing conclusion. Every single time.

The Void Plummetting like Alexander Lemming.

ITV didn't have a perfect year. The Void was summer filler, people try to cross a large tank of water by various apparatus. While they mixed the games up to make it interesting, and Nick Heath gave a sharp commentary, we found there's only about one thing you can do with a large tank of water: fall into it. The Masked Dancer tried to build on the success of The Masked Singer, but failed to attract much interest. And Moneyball reminded us that movement in one dimension is dull, but movement in two dimensions (like Tipping Point) makes for compelling telly.

Viacom has a problem: it doesn't communicate well with the rest of the world. While researching the Roll of Honour, we were amazed to find that Celebs on the Farm had had a series on MTV. Didn't appear in any of the listings magazines, wasn't promoted where we saw it, and MTV isn't a channel we monitor for new game shows. Growing Pains and The Complaints Department appeared on Comedy Central, both were derivative and unimaginative.

Landmark (2) Visible all the way from Skydome Arena to junction 7 of the ring road.

Comcast's pay-tv operation Sky revived Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and made the new arts programme Landmark. They wanted to make a sculpture to sit on a building in the city centre, near to the world-famous Coventry Market. The result is certainly a sculpture, and it's very much been installed on a building in the city centre. And it's visible for literally metres around. The competition may have been fierce, the show underwhelming, and the results are concealed by the Coventry inner ring road.

Feelgood television: Pooch Perfect (BBC1); Scotland's Best Dog (BBC Scotland)

All things considered, it's been a rubbish year. Those who think they lead us have proven incapable of the job: since the start of 2020, there have been about 150,000 excess deaths in the UK. That's as many people as live in Oxford and its suburbs. {source, to 2021-12-31}

In this environment, television game shows have a duty to be escapist, to take us out from the horrors of everyday life. Pooch Perfect had the best of intentions, a show about competitive dog grooming. Who can cut the best hair of the poodle? How do you solve a problem like a Pomeranian? Ever tried to give your dog a bath? Sheridan Smith's show didn't set the world afire, and won't be coming back for a second cut, but the people who enjoyed it really loved it.

Pooch Perfect Woof.

Later in the year, BBC Scotland cut out the fluff and just gave doglovers what they wanted: a show about dogs being adorable. Scotland's Best Dog was a framework to go "awww" over some hounds, and talk with their humans about what makes them special.

The ongoing health crisis meant that the best place to meet other people was outdoors. Dave pushed the idea to its limit, with Outsiders. David Mitchell takes six comedians into the country, and gives them jobs to do. If they do well enough, they'll be awarded badges. And while David will slope off home at the end of the day, the comedians will live in the camp and eventually treat David as an outsider himself. It's a cross between Taskmaster and Hey Duggee!, and was welcome as a change from all the studio-bound panel shows.

Outsiders Woof woof woof woof.

One such studio-bound show was Can I Improve My Memory?, where Sandi Toksvig and some memory experts gave celebrities tips on how to remember more. Another Channel 4 show, Handmade, asked woodworkers to make some stupendous objects in just two days' hard work. Festive special The Greatest Snowman got celebs to make their own sculptures out of ice and snow: perfect Christmas Eve viewing with a hot chocolate and marshmallows.

The Greatest Snowman A food mixer made out of snow.

Strictly Come Dancing was a delight, and it represented the people in all their variety. The finalists were a Black woman, two men dancing together, and a deaf star who had earlier danced without any music.

Seeing yourself on screen matters: Channel 4 had run a Black to Front day featuring only Black talent, we regularly see quiz contestants in wheelchairs, the urbane Clive Myrie arrived on Mastermind like an old friend. University Challenge has continued its efforts to widen the academic quiz curriculum by asking in historically-marginalised areas. All of this is excellent news, it reflects life how it truly is.

Singing: Walk the Line (ITV)

Three game shows mark their 10th anniversary in 2022. The chaotic panel game 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, daytime favourite Tipping Point, and singing show The Voice. Catsdown has given us many enjoyable moments, not least "Carrot in a Box". Tipping Point has provided a string of memories, including Homer's epic poem The Doughnuts.

What has The Voice given us? Chart star Becky Hill, a third career for Kevin Simm, and … that's about it. As much as the viewing public loves the Incredible Spinning Chairs round, there's no interest in the show after that gimmick has gone past. The music industry isn't interested in long-running careers, radio won't play the winners' song, and television doesn't seem interested either.

Walk the Line The best singer of the year.

Simon Cowell tried to rescue the genre with Walk the Line. The show went on and on and on about it's £500,000 jackpot prize, how someone must win half-a-million quid by Friday. Was that a piece of misdirection, and was Walk the Line any good? We'll explore just some of the ways in which it wasn't next week.

How bad is the domestic music show? Take a look at the Eurovision Song Contest. You'll hear Ukranian white singing. You'll see a cutting-edge CGI show. You'll be blasted by hyper-pop through at least five senses at once. The French ballad will tug at your heart strings, the hosts' song will warm your cockles, and Italian rock will blow you away.

Eurovision Song Contest James Newman: great man, small score.

The BBC? Two giant trumpets, one adequate vocalist performing a subpar song. It was a shame that "Embers" failed to trouble the scoreboard, racking up the non-total of 0 points. It was a deserved failure, the song was amongst the weakest, Newman's vocals were never his strong suit, and the presentation was poor. Worst of all, Eurovision went for authenticity, it rewarded people who were true to themselves and their culture. "Embers" stood for nothing, it was bland and interchangeable middle-of-the-road pop, and was cut down for that blandness.

Other talent shows moved away from the pure singing. Irish channel VM1 staged The Big Deal, a general talent show where competitors could take a small reward, or risk it by looking for approval from the panel of judges.

I Can See Your Voice A good singer, with Ronan Keating and Jimmy Carr.

I Can See Your Voice (BBC1) asked a panel of celebrities to guess who was a good singer and who was miming to someone else's voice. It was OK as casual viewing, which is more than can be said for Game of Talents. That ITV show asked people to match a person to their talent, with a far too complex nonsense about picking the prize balls. Vernon Kay came out of his sabbatical to host this: let's hope he's available for The Hustler.

Everything else

Surprisingly little new cookery this year: the bubble we've experienced since about 2010 seems to have burst. Sure, Masterchef and Great Local Menu and Bake Off and Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch, Wednesday Elevenses and all their spin-offs still colonise the schedules. The only new cooking game show was Cooking With the Stars, funded by a well-known food-and-clothing retailer and sold into ITV's summer schedule.

Sitting on a Fortune Look what you can make with some old crisp packets.

Later in the year, ITV gave us Sitting on a Fortune. Gary Lineker guides us effortlessly through a complex quiz of people moving forward and going back. A decent prize is almost certain, and it's a gentle and entertaining watch. Murder Island (C4) was lean-forward television, asking four pairs of detectives to find who had committed a foul murder. Information was fed at the producers' convenience, and we couldn't really try to solve the crime before the show told us, which left a slow and stodgy start before the pace picked up.

Paul O'Grady brought back the old-fashioned chat show in his Saturday Night Line Up, asking celebs to share stories and eventually rank themselves. Saturday Night Takeaway navigated its way through an interesting few weeks. They invented the virtual audience, and told them to cheer rather than applaud, because cheering sounds better on the telly. Andi Peters was trapped inside a plastic bubble, Gordon Ramsay appeared and rather ruined a segment, and Stephen Mulhern covered himself in gold paint for … well, there must have been reasons.

Saturday Night Takeaway Another restrained costume for young Mr. Mulhern.

New hosts were required on a number of shows, not just Mastermind. Radio 4's Just a Minute couldn't continue without someone in the chair, and after letting many of the regulars host a show, they selected Sue Perkins for the job. We now have two bars of Just a Minute excellence: are you as good as Sheila Hancock, and are you as brilliant as Sue Perkins?

A Question of Sport had a new host, Paddy McGuinness came in, and the show freshened itself up a little. Countdown appointed a new host, Anne Robinson replaced the retiring Nick Hewer. After six months, we're still not convinced by Anne, it still sounds as though she's shouting across the studio, and isn't properly listening to people's answers, and still asks closed questions rather than letting the contestants tell their little anecdotes.

Countdown Tick tick tick.

Still, Countdown had a better replacement host than Jeopardy!, where the executive producer Mike Richards found the perfect candidate for the job: himself! But then it became apparent that Richards was sexist, racist, a lightning rod for bad feeling, and he had to leave the host's role, and the programme, and his other job producing Wheel of Fortune.

Maybe they could invite Lindsey Russell to host: the reigning Blue Peter You Decide champion left the show in a hot air balloon, with the replacements already in post. That is how an established television show like Blue Peter changes hosts: with style and panache. New-fangled whippersnappers like Jeopardy! need to learn from the experts.

Blue Peter You Decide Up, up and away!

Other game shows on children's television were in something of a holding pattern. CBBC's Got What It Takes? returned for a socially-distanced series, fewer contestants and fewer programmes still produced a fine winner. On CITV, Don't Unleash the Beast had a ballpit, and a simpler scoring system, but was very similar to the first run. Crackerjack! gave us unadulterated fun and silliness and cabbages for Friday nights, the best episode was where Jason Manford loved every minute, even the mess at the end.

Crackerjack First and last amongst the gunged.

Ratings watch

Boring disclaimer: this section is based on information placed into the public sphere by BARB, Thinkbox, and RAJAR.

We've been looking at the most popular quiz on television. Most weeks, it's been The Chase. One week in January saw The Wheel take pole position, Beat the Chasers beat its parent for a week in the spring, and Pointless moved ahead when The Chase took a week off in June. Millionaire and The Wheel took the lead in the summer, they had new episodes while The Chase was in repeats.

Then in the last week of August, Only Connect headed all-comers. Since then it's been The Chase, Beat the Chasers, The Hit List, Only Connect, The Chase, Only Connect, The Hit List for three weeks, The Chase after the clocks went back, The Wheel when it was on, and The Weakest Link in the week after Christmas. (Mr. Wogan may have called Blankety Blank a quiz; we disagree.)

Beat the Chasers A big winner.

Lots of shows have been the most popular quiz on telly in the last few months. What's happened? The Chase was everyone's favourite teatime entertainment during the lockdowns at the start of the year, and couldn't sustain huge audiences. Only Connect has been building its audience ever since it began, and still seems to be growing. Is there no limit to Victoria and the hieroglyphs' reign?

After a few years growing up in public, The Hit List has found its niche as a hard – but not too hard – pop music quiz. We all love a hard – but not too hard – pop music quiz; the radio figures suggest Popmaster was the most popular quiz on broadcast media for most of the summer, beaten only by The Wheel.

The Hit List Television's best music quiz.

We're overjoyed to see this fierce competition. All of these shows are worth watching, all of them attract their own loyal audiences. Because there are so many other great quizzes around, all are required to be that bit better, improve themselves more. It's a golden age of quiz, and we're privileged to live through it.

Here's the channel-by-channel list; top tens for the main broadcast channels, new shows for the others. Significant episodes are noted, and we've corrected these ratings after BARB found they'd miscounted some shows over Christmas.


Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
Strictly Come Dancing [final] 18/12 12185
Eurovision Song Contest [final] 22/05 7739
The Great British Sewing Bee [final] 12/05 6151
Blankety Blank [first] 02/10 5887
Michael McIntyre's The Wheel 18/12 5622
MasterChef [final] 14/04 5404
Would I Lie to You? 29/01 5235
The Weakest Link [first] 18/12 5085
Celebrity MasterChef [final] 09/08 4857
I Can See Your Voice 15/05 4823

If you're only going to allow one Masterchef show, then The Hit List moves into the top ten. Others to break 4 million were Celebrity Best Home Cook, Masterchef The Professionals, Have I Got News for You, and Pointless Celebrities.


Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
Only Connect [final] 29/03 3413
University Challenge 11/01 2935
Richard Osman's House of Games 05/03 2835
All That Glitters: Britain's Next Jewellry Star 13/04 2569
Mastermind [final] 26/04 2386
Pointless 20/01 2356
Great British Menu 30/04 2082
Have I Got a Bit More News for You 12/04 1919
Strictly – It Takes Two 06/12 1889
Celebrity Antiques Road Trip 09/11 1625

Pointless was moved while BBC1 showed a self-important "news" broadcast. Have I Got a Bit More News for You was the first broadcast of that week's episode, delayed and moved following the death of Prince Philip of Edinburgh.


Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! [first] 21/11 11057
The Masked Singer [final] 13/02 9922
Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway [first] 20/02 8511
Dancing on Ice [first] 17/01 6069
The Voice 13/02 5840
Beat the Chasers [celebs] 27/03 5488
Celebrity Catchphrase 13/02 5463
The Chase 04/01 5182
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? 24/01 4611
All Star Musicals 21/03 4600

ITV had a very strong first quarter; The Chasers Road Trip went out in January to 4.4 million viewers, and The Chase Celebrity Special broke 4 million on Christmas Eve. Of note: daytime Tipping Point (8 January, 3.325m) beat primetime Tipping Point Lucky Stars (11 April, 3.214m). The Stephen Mulhern stakes ends with Celebrity Catchphrase first, Rolling in It second, In for a Penny and The Big Quiz (2) just behind.

Channel 4

Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
The Great British Bake Off [final] 23/11 9606
The Great Celebrity Bake Off for SU2C 16/03 5831
The Great Pottery Throw Down [final] 14/03 3771
Taskmaster's New Year Treat 01/01 3181
Big Fat Quiz 26/12 3034
Bake Off: The Professionals [final] 25/05 3016
Taskmaster [spring final] 18/03 2987
Murder Island [first] 05/10 1970
Junior Bake Off [final] 20/01 1899
The Circle [celebrity] 12/03 1835

Bad luck to Handmade: Britain's Best Woodworker, which missed the top ten by 7000 viewers. If you exclude two Bake Off and one Taskmaster spin-offs, the next shows are 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, The Greatest Snowman, and Snackmasters. Two other game shows broke a million – Can I Improve My Memory? and Quizness. (We updated this section in May 2022, after we got ratings for October 2021 which weren't available at the time.)

Channel 5

Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
World's Strongest Man [final] 01/01 1949
UK's Strongest Man [final] 06/12 734
Eggheads [first] 16/11 605

For the other channels, it's new shows and first-run acquisitions only. Repeats would make this list about four times as long.


Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
Eurovision Song Contest 20/05 747
Great British Photography Challenge 24/05 632
BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 19/06 345
BBC Young Musician 02/05 330

Just for comparison, BBC4's vintage Top of the Pops from 1990 and 1991 average about 250,000 viewers.

BBC Scotland

Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
Scotland's Home of the Year 05/05 277
Breaking the News 31/12 59
Scotland's Best Dog 16/12 56

Wonder when Scotland's Best Dog will scamper onto network television? Or when Home of the Year will go national?


Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
Crackerjack! 12/02 157
Got What It Takes? [first] 18/05 104

A flaw in the ratings: they only look at viewing in the seven days after first transmission, and many CBBC shows are available online for months afterwards.


Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
GiggleQuiz 08/04 256
Swashbuckle 16/02 223

No entry for CITV, as Don't Unleash the Beast didn't feature in the weekly ratings available to us.

Comedy Central

Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
Rhod Gilbert's Growing Pains 12/01 262
The Complaints Department 13/09 148
Guessable 20/04 146


Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
Mel Giedroyc: Unforgivable 09/02 583
Outsiders [first] 29/09 497
Question Team [first] 12/10 339


Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
Lego Masters USA 13/04 470
Lego Masters Australia 12/09 454
Wipeout USA 25/07 336
GamesMaster [first] 24/11 233

Ah, the Gamesmaster revival, which wasn't sure if it was aiming at teens of today or the 40something nostalgia market, and ended up pleasing nobody.

Food Network

Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
Best Baker In America 09/04 124
Halloween Cake-Off 15/10 78
Kids Baking Championship 20/08 73
Christmas Cookie Challenge 01/11 69
Halloween Wars 28/10 50
Kids BBQ Championship 15/08 31

All of these imported from Discovery's operations overseas.


Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
Love Island [first] 29/06 4990
Love Island: Aftersun 05/09 1550
Love Island: Unseen Bits 03/07 985
The Cabins [first] 04/01 875
Love Island: Australia 01/03 659
Celebrity Juice 08/04 557
Hell's Kitchen (USA) 28/10 556
Iain Stirling's CelebAbility 22/07 408
Celebrity Karaoke Club 05/07 365
Apocalypse Wow [first] 30/07 281
The Masked Singer US 04/03 263
Don't Hate the Playaz [first] 04/08 249
Ready to Mingle [first] 06/09 248
Love Island: What Happened Next? 27/06 195
Catchphrase: Catchiest Moments 22/06 170
Best of Love Island 23/06 151

A lot of people watch Love Island, and it has to be seen on the night – by tomorrow, there's a whole new episode to watch. We still think ITV2 lacks focus, especially compared with the disciplined schedule of panel shows on Dave.


Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
Dinner Date 29/08 126
Love Island USA 10/09 115
Dating in the Dark 28/03 114
Love Island: Australia 24/11 103
Best Cake Wins 03/05 56
Dinner Date: Love at First Bite 14/02 42

Dating in the Dark an import, Dinner Date Love at First Bite a Valentine's day retrospective of the series.


Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
The Great Australian Bake Off 06/12 261
Full Bloom 12/07 176
Countdown 24/02 134

Full Bloom a competitive gardening programme; they made it in the style of Bake Off when perhaps a Come Dine with Me showcase would have been more fun. Countdown was displaced from Channel 4 for live cricket; the regular show has been bobbing around the fringe of Channel 4's weekly top 50, with 400,000 viewers on a good day.


Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
Can i Gymru 05/03 48
Am Dro! [first] 19/09 23
Mastermind Cymru [final] 03/02 17
Hewlfa Drysor [first] 01/01 16

Can i Gymru the annual song contest. Am Dro! went to BBC2 as Take a Hike. Hewlfa Drysor is a treasure hunt in your car, great fun to watch.

Sky Arts

Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
Portrait Artist of the Year [first] 20/10 647
Landscape Artist of the Year 03/02 613
Celebrity Portrait Artist of the Year 07/02 130
Landmark [first] 20/09 58

Sky One / Sky Max

Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
Never Mind the Buzzcocks 14/12 336
A League of Their Own's Christmas Party 11/12 60

Sky rebranded its pay-tv entertainment channel in September. Officially, the continuing channel is "Sky Max"; there's also "Sky Showcase" which shows programmes from other Sky channels. How very confusing!


Programme Title Shown Rating ('000s)
Masterchef Australia 13/09 329
Masterchef Australia Junior 05/03 172
Masterchef USA 18/11 164
Top Chef 07/01 124
Masterchef USA Celebrity Showdown 2019 15/12 93
Masterchef Junior USA 19/03 70
My Restaurant Rules New Zealand 24/03 53
My Kitchen Rules Australia 01/04 35

The pay-tv channel has rights to all the English-language Masterchef programmes, and has a regular 7pm cookery block.

The Roll of Honour

(All results as transmitted are final)

Christmas University Challenge 2020 – Courtauld Institute of Art (Tim Marlow, Lavinia Greenlaw, Jacky Klein, Jeremy Deller)
University Challenge – Warwick (Richard Pollard, George Braid, Andrew Rout, Owain Burrell)
Christmas University Challenge 2021 – Edinburgh (Cath Slessor, Thomasina Miers, Miles Jupp, Phil Swanson)

Junior Bake Off – Reece
Senior Bake Off – Giuseppe Dell'Anno
Bake Off Crème de la Crème – Gin & Bake (Michael Coggan and Andrew Minto)

Mastermind Cymru – Gethin Jones
Mastermind – Jonathan Gibson


The Masked Singer – Sausage (voiced by Joss Stone)

Celebrity Best Home Cook – Ed Balls

Counterpoint – Steve Lodge

Landscape Artist of the Year – Ophelia Redpath
Portrait Artist of the Year – Calum Stevenson

Stand Up and Deliver – Sayeeda Warsi, as mentored by Nick Helm.

Celebs on the Farm – Kerry Katona

Pooch Perfect – Kelly D

Cân i Gymru – "Bach o Hwne", written and performed by Morgan Elwy Williams

The Celebrity Circle – Lady Leshurr
The Circle – Natalya

Dancing on Ice – Sonny Jay and Angela

Dancing on Ice

The Great Pottery Throwdown – Jodie Neale

Interior Design Masters – Lynsey Ford

The Voice of Holland of This Territory – Craig Eddie
The Voice of Holland of This Territory Kids – Torrin

Drag Race (spring) – Lawrence Chaney
(autumn) – Krystal Versace

Only Connect – Puzzle Hunters (Paul Taylor, Katie Steckles, Ali Lloyd)

Masterchef – Tom Rhodes
Celebrity Masterchef – Kadeena Cox
Masterchef The Professionals – Daniel Lee

Ireland's Home of the Year – Jen Sheahan's late 1800s artisan cottage in Dublin
Scotland's Home of the Year – Karen Welstead and "The Moss", a Georgian renovation in Killearn

BBC Young Musician of the Year 2020 – Fang Zhang

Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision Song Contest – "Zitti e buono" for RAI, written and performed by Måneskin
Junior Eurovision – "Qami qami" for AMPTV; music by Tokionine; lyric by Vahram Petrosyan, Tokionine, Maléna, David Tserunyan; performed by Maléna

Brightest Celebrity Family – Matthew Wright and family

Taskmaster (spring) – Sarah Kendall
(autumn) – Morgana Robinson

Around The Islands Quiz – "South of England" – Marcus Berkmann and Paul Sinha

All That Glitters – Hugo Johnson

Fighting Talk – Natalie Pike

Great Photography Challenge – Jackson Moyles and Tyrone Williams (joint winners)

All Day Popmaster – Jenny Ryan
Popmaster Champions League – Tom Cutter

The Masked Dancer – Carwash, performed by Louis Smith

Cardiff Singer of the World – Gihoon Kim, baritone
Song prize – Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha, soprano
Audience prize – Claire Barnett-Jones, mezzo-soprano

Rostrum Camera – Ken Morse

Glow Up – Sophie Baverstock
Glow Up Ireland – Glen Edward McGuinness

Got What it Takes? – Tilly Lockey

Got What it Takes?

Countdown (June) – Adam Latchford
(December) – Ahmed Mohamed

Sewing Bee – Serena Baker

Celebrity Karaoke Club – AJ Odudu

Can I Improve My Memory? – Amber Gill

Cooking with the Stars – Harry Judd

The Rap Game – Saidu

Love Island – Millie Court and Liam Reardon

Love Island

One Man and His Dog – Charlie Dumbleton and Dell; Megan Hutchinson and Katie & Sophie, competing as "England"

Landmark – Favour Jonathan

The Big Deal – Lisette Krol

New Comedy Awards – Anna Thomas

Murder Island – Sarah and Richmond

Handmade – Misti

BBC Brain – Karl Whelan

I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! – Danny Miller

Last Singer Standing – Patrick O'Sullivan

Walk the Line – Nadiah Adu-Gyiamfi

Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly Come Dancing – Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice
Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special – Anne-Marie and Graziano di Prima

Next week...

Celebrity Coach Trip (E4) and The Cabins (VM2 and ITV2) both run nightly. Pointless (BBC1) has new episodes. Dragons' Den (BBC1, Thu) has rich people flashing their cash; Would I Lie to You? (BBC1, Fri) brings back some tall tales.

A congregation of lovely people on Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, Sat), before Anneka Rice flies round The Wheel. On the other side, Ant and Dec's Limitless Win offers so much money they could pay us to work with Stephen Mulhern!

We'll be back next week, with a discussion on Walk the Line and the Christmas specials.

Pictures: Objective Media Group North, Objective Media Group Scotland/Motion Content Group, Youngest North, Remarkable Television, Fizz and Nice One, 12 Yard, Cardiff Productions, Tuesday's Child, CPL Productions, Expectation, Interstellar, Humble Pie Productions t/a Studio Ramsay, Gameface Productions, Weaver/UKGameshows, Beyond Productions UK, That M&W Company/Renegade Pictures, Southshore, SyCo Entertainment/Lifted Entertainment, EBU/NOS/NPO/AVROTROS, Thames/Naked Television/CJ ENM, Possessed/Potato, ITV Studios/Mitre Television, Yorkshire TV/Lifted Entertainment, Children's BBC Productions, Potato, Tuesday's Child Scotland, Hat Trick/Hindsight, ITV Studios, NPO/NOS/AVROTROS/Nathan Reinds, Fulwell 73, BBC Studios.

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