Weaver's Week 2015-01-04

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Lines are now open for the UKGameshows Poll of the Year 2014, independently counted and verified by Bother's Bar. This week's Week looks back at the year 2014, might help you decide how to cast your ballot. We throw in a few awards that didn't quite make the final poll.


January: A spoonful of failure

Two minimalist new shows began in the opening week of 2014. Neither has been recommissioned. Were channel bosses to have their time again, neither would have been commissioned in the first place.

Reflex Banging the drum.

Reflex (BBC1) was the ultimate game show for people with short attention spans. Its events were complete in a few seconds at most. By slow-motion camera technology, freeze-frames, rewinding and looping time, the show was to build tension on its events. It would turn the mundane – throwing a can of paint at a wall – into the unmissable. And that worked. The show was a joy to watch, games that took moments in the studio became absorbing and mesmerising on the screen.

And then we turned the sound back up, and Ken Bruce was still at it. The Popmaster host had been brought in to provide a "humorous" commentary. That's "humorous" as in "not actually funny", as in "you thought dad jokes were bad, this is even worse". The show started as "lead-in to The Voice", it finished as "lead-in to Final Score". Deserved better.

The Taste (C4) was going to be the future of cookery shows. Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre, and Anthony Bourdain would critique and judge cookery and cooks. All they would have to inform their view: one single spoonful of food, submitted anonymously. A massive success on ABC (Disney), Channel 4 won the bidding war to bring the format here.

The Taste Flavourless.

On the first show, we saw plenty to intrigue us. Lots of cooks entered, some were accepted, many more rejected. The end result was twelve characters to follow for the next couple of months. Plenty to amuse us here, we thought. First competitive show set out the regular format: a guest chef puts forward an immunity challenge, for which Nigella and her chums can help. Then each cook is on their own for an individual challenge, and that gives us the Spoons of Dooms. After some wittering, someone is eliminated from the contest.

We felt the problem around episode four. Every show was exactly the same. The same structure, the same pace, the same feel, the same false tension. A cookery masterclass that lost a student each week. The Taste did many things well – we loved the analogue aesthetic, we were inspired by some of the ideas shown. The production was mass-produced, like serving up a gourmet meal from a fast-food kitchen. The Taste lost half its audience by week three, never to get them back. We award The Taste our Soundtrack of the Year award.

Ludus Appalong for evah!

Ludus (CBBC, later S4C) began in January, building on the interactive appalong game Y Lifft. The backstory flowed better on S4C, the character worked better on CBBC, and the games were the same everywhere. We were less convinced by the same company's Pyramid (S4C). CBBC had The Dog Ate My Homework, a comedy panel show starring The Amazing Iain Stirling and his dressing-up box.

Box inflation came to Deal or No Deal: the 23rd red cuboid allowed a player to double their winnings, or to leave with nothing. It raised the top prize to a possible £500,000. A television landmark was erected to Ant and Dec, and BT ran "the world's first Twitter game show". A year after being removed by censors at the Met Police, Jim Davidson won Celebrity Big Brother. A musical based on The X Factor opened in London – it closed in May.

February: Jump for my love

The Great Interior Design Challenge (BBC2) ran for two series. Tom Dyckhoff and his experts bring changes to people's lives by redecorating their front rooms, by converting their bedrooms, or making radical changes to the inside of a houseboat. We found it difficult to make a habit of the show – three nights a week at 7pm is a big commitment. And we don't understand much of what they're talking about on the show. Still, The Great Interior Design Challenge has turned into a hit, and we're pleased for them.

The Jump Everybody up!

According to the press office, The Jump (C4) was a "channel-defining series". Celebrities learned how to do various winter sports, which was fun and entertaining. The chosen sports were action events, downhill skiing or snowboarding or skeleton bob. None of the namby-pamby ice dance nonsense from the Dancing on Ice all-star finale (ITV). They were dangerous events, with the risk of injury present throughout. Many celebs were injured, and the final was contested by two players who weren't in the opening night line-up.

We agree with the press office, The Jump sums up everything Channel 4 in 2014. Entertaining, but with an aftertaste of "we've just watched car-crash television". Aware of celebrity, but not obsessed with it. Featuring Alex Brooker for absolutely no reason at all. Gathering minor celebs from other reality shows (Eddie Edwards from Splash!, Kimberley Walsh from every show going). And losing viewers at the same rate as it lost contestants: almost 50% of the audience vanished between opening night and the semi-final a week later.

Splash! held its second and final series: the audience has had enough of seeing people plummet to earth, especially as the show had even less action than Reflex. Who Wants to be a Millionaire concluded after sixteen years. Roop Singh won £250,000 on Deal or No Deal, but his jackpot win felt like a failure as box 23 would have doubled his winnings. The BBC said that all-male comedy panel shows would not be accepted.

March: Snip!

Unexpected hit of the year was Hair (BBC3). Searching for the best young hair stylist in Britain, Steve Jones led a masterclass in how to cut, weave, and do spectacular things with one's barnet. The format had a whiff of that baking show – a technical element, work on a dummy, and a fantastic creation. And it had more than a dash of its positive charm. Good performances earned a reward on the show, and good performances earned a reward as viewers grew through word of mouth.

Hair Hair also wins the Game Show Hat of the Year accolade.

The only people unhappy with this show were the BBC management, they want to take BBC3 off air, and distribute it on the internet alone. This has gone to the Board of Governors in a package of "cost-saving" measures, the sort that will end up costing more money. The internet is not a free resource – this is news to the management.

March was graced by two shows about performing dogs. Superstar Dogs (C4) invited dogs to jump in a tank of water and go through an obstacle course. Sport Relief's Top Dog (BBC2) invited owners to send their dogs into a tank of water and through an obstacle course. One was hosted by John Barrowman, the other was full of waffle.

Sport Relief's Top Dog Dogs will let themselves get wet.

After a year's sabbatical, CJ de Mooi returned to screens on Revenge of the Egghead (BBC2). Something different for the teatime slot, and the show re-introduced his pantomime villain character to viewers.

After trailing the show for three months, KYTV finally got around to showing QI knockoff Duck Quacks Don't Echo, and daytime quiz show Timeline. It wasn't worth the wait. KYTV still hasn't learned that the most important thing is to have a good programme. Throughout its 26-year life, the channel promises the moon and stars but only delivers a small piece of sky.

Dara Ó Briain used his position to entrench the male privilege that benefits people such as Dara Ó Briain. Ruth Lorenzo emerged as the winner of The X Factor 2008, she would represent TVE at the Eurovision Song Contest in Denmark. RTÉ's selection show degenerated into a stand-up row, and the BBC's entry was announced on Ceefax.

April: Golden Oldies

ITV gave us Amazing Greys, a battle between young people outside their comfort zone, and old people on their specialist subject. Paddy McGuinness tried to hype this up as a battle of generations, but forgot that the British are polite to their elders. The show would have worked better if it had been more positive.

Fifteen-to-One Dame Sandi Toksvig.

Speaking of things past retirement age, Fifteen-to-One returned to daytime television. Each show was too slow to get going – a change after recording meant the opening round lasted almost 25 minutes. But once the quiz got going, it became engrossing in its own way. Sandi Toksvig is more chatty than William G Stewart, which is fine. The questions veered from the easy (what colour is a Black Maria) to the impossible (what colour is 17 on a roulette wheel), and that's not fine. The daily winners returned for the series final and a big cash prize. A second series in the autumn set most of these problems right. There's no compelling reason to bring the series back, but neither is there a good reason not to.

To most people's surprise, a new series of Only Connect popped up on BBC4. There was a complication in the transfer negotiations, caused because BBC2 hadn't worked out that it calls "Next" for the next clue, and only presses the button to answer. We've heard suggestions that the BBC4 series was to let the new question editor work out the right level, but have no evidence to support this report.

The Big Allotment Challenge (BBC2) invited people to grow their own vegetables. The Guess List (BBC1) invited Rob Brydon to insult famous people with a bit of a game attached. Bruce Forsyth announced his retirement from Strictly Come Dancing, Kylie Minogue left BBC The Voice UK, and Louis Walsh announced his unretirement from The X Factor. Catchphrase set out to recreate the Snake Charmer moment, but "Dicing with death" isn't remembered nine months later.

Catchphrase You don't remember this, do you.

May: Win, Lose, or Draw It

A year after it was recorded, Draw It! finally came to Channel 4. The rules were so simple anyone could follow them. "One person draws, another person guesses." The show was bright and bubbly and breezy, booked some larger-than-life personalities, but didn't have any fans at Channel 4. We won't be seeing it again, and that's a shame.

Draw It! Filmed in 2013, before it was popular to build a snowman.

What linked The Voice with Ejector Seat (ITV)? It's the amazing mobile chairs. On this daytime quiz, the chairs would like to stay at the front of the stage, near the audience. But they've been built with a Scary Host Avoidance System, so that when the chair sees a scary host, it backs off. Slowly at first, and then faster, until it's at a safe distance to throw its occupant out and let them run away.

OK, the reality is a bit less fanciful: Andi Peters (the scary host) asks questions, errors cause the chair to move backwards until it runs out of room, and some money's awarded. The show looked wonderful, every picture told a story, and we have Ejector Seat as Most Artfully Shot show. Still waiting for the celebrity editions, though.

Ejector Seat Green is a good colour.

BBC1's new daytime show was The Link. It asked people to spot the connection between words, and held out a top prize of about £5000. A long, slow, tedious process might give a prize of about £500. There's a good game in this linking business, but The Link was not it.

Great British Menu (BBC2) and Masterchef Goes Large (BBC1) had their annual cooking contests. The Eurovision Song Contest (DR) was staged in a shipyard near Copenhagen, won by one of the many great songs in the contest. We still don't understand the interval act, "Ode To Joy Performed By People On Massive Light-Up Ladders". The Twinkle Twinkle Daily Star moaned that contestants on Spain's Got Talent were appearing on Britain's Got Talent. ITV viewers said "so?" and gave the prize to the usual sort of act.

The Summer: Press Pause

Sport dominated the television in June and July: the men's football world cup took ITV out of commission for June, the Commonwealth Games meant BBC1 was also off through July. We did get A Question of Sport Super Saturday (BBC1), which struck us as a lot of shouting for no reason. And we got Tipping Point Lucky Stars (ITV), first Jonathan Ross and then Jim Moir demonstrated their uncanny luck and judgement.

Channel 4 continued its delve through lifestyle shows. Ultimate Dealer was taut and precise, French Collection proved to be an old format re-heated. The ever-reliable Four Rooms lost its stars when Jeff Salmon and Andrew Lamberty stepped aside, but this year's series – restored to prime time – put the art and junk centre stage.

Ultimate Dealer A warehouse of tat.

BBC2 has been promoting University Challenge all year. The twentieth series of the BBC revival ended in April, and included a challenge match between Manchester and Magdalen Oxford. A two-hour hagiography heralded the new student series. It introduced us to many of the sides who will appear in the quiz (and a few who aren't selected by the producers). University Challenge irritates us: it's an OK quiz show, the only chance to see students using their studies. It could be so much more impressive than "Paxman berates youngster for knowing something". A puff piece like this was never going to be critical, and drew attention to UC's flaws by ignoring them.

Channel 5 had two shows that were very flawed. Stand by Your Man – a cheap relative of Take Me Out – featured young women playing Runaround, and young men climbing into bed with them. That filled 40 minutes of a Friday night.

Big Brother occupied almost a third of the schedules for three months. This year's series – subtitled "Power Trip" – was all about lab rat Helen Wood from the beginning. Granted a pass to the final in the first few days, she became the focus of argument, interference, and bad feeling. Every week, the producers fiddled about with nominations. Every week, the producers invented tasks to set lab rat against lab rat. The show was dour and cheerless and sexist and – frankly – rubbish television.

Big Brother Danielle and Ashleigh tried their best.

And the result left a very sour taste in many mouths – a suggestion that the result had been altered by gamblers prompted Channel 5 to put out a statement. This statement turned out to be flat-out wrong in an important respect. Did people waste 11 weeks of their life so that gamblers could swoop in and make a fast buck? We may never know.

Snotty deletionists on That Other Wiki removed much of the factual information, claiming it was "trivia". Such a claim is a load of twaddle that bears no resemblance to any truth, and so fits in perfectly there.

August: When Two Songs Sound the Same

The Million Pound Drop Live had a summer run on Channel 4, now coming on tape rather than live. When it had finished, they put out The Singer Takes it All. The show was simple – see someone singing on telly, push a button to say whether they're a hit or a miss, and help them to win money. Or have a poor performance brought to a swift conclusion. There were problems with the format – the producers expected the Great British Public to be nastier than they were, and the result is often determined in the opening moments.

The Singer Takes it All Hit, miss, or maybe.

The Singer Takes it All was a technical success, an adequate ratings success for Channel 4, and helped to persuade ITV that Rising Star would be a disaster. Britain's Favourite Button had started work on the Armoza show, hoping to put it out early this new year. Poor ratings across the world, and a voting gimmick that someone else had used, meant Rising Star suddenly looked like a flop.

Two Tribes (BBC2) is going to win the fan vote this year. It's hosted by Richard Osman, it's light viewing at teatime, it's a difficult quiz, and it asks some of life's little questions. Such as, "are you a cat person?" and "is this related to your ability to answer quiz questions?" It's going to do well because it is one of the few great new shows from this year, and just about the only one we can see still on air in 2020. It's going to do well because it's bouncy and good natured, but mostly because Richard Osman has a massive fan club and can persuade people to watch him anywhere.

Two Tribes Does that make Richard Osman the Taylor Swift of game shows?

The annual summer replacements for The Chase were The 21st Question and Gift Wrapped. The latter was a game for newlywed couples, hoping to take home a few consumer durables. Unremarkable and soulless, Gift Wrapped couldn't even provide us with an original out-take (Ruth Langsford made the usual error in "coxless fours".)

The 21st Question was superior: slow but steady progress to the end game through multiple-choice questions of increasing difficulty. There's a calculated risk in picking a starting position, and for the winner in the end game. ITV's repeating the series on Saturday mornings, it might be worth another look now we know what happens.

ITV also gave us Come on Down! The Game Show Story, an entertainment-documentary about some of the more memorable game and quiz shows in the UK. Win It Cook It (C4) was a raw cookery show too cheap to be good viewing. KYTV's Got to Dance had its final tournament, live from a deserted trainshed in Camden. Karren Brady took up a box at Lords'.

September: Baking hot

At the start of the year, ITV had tried to muscle in on Bake Off territory, with Britain's Best Bakery. Playing up the old-fashioned nature of artisan bakeries, and with a major emphasis on cake, the daytime show was sufficiently like Mel and Sue's show to attract viewers, but different enough to deflect lawsuits.

Britain's Best Bakery Where is the opposition? It's gone.

The main difference: Britain's Best Bakery used blowtorches to stiffen its toppings. The Great British Bake Off used blowtorches to melt ice cream. Except it didn't. We speak of Baked Alaska puddings, which involve ice cream. The episode was filmed during the peak of the summer heat. One contestant removed another's ice cream from the freezer for a bit less than one minute. The other contestant believed his work had been ruined, and threw it all in the bin. Social media went into, er, meltdown, and Bake Off became BBC1's biggest show of the year, peaking with 13m viewers.

Celebrity Squares X marks the flop.

ITV pitched its Great New Autumn Show against Bake Off. A revival of Celebrity Squares featured Joe Wilkinson and Tim Vine in every episode, along with other comedians and stars of ITV shows. And Bradley Walsh, the only person to fit into both groups. One reason for making the show is to introduce a primetime audience to new faces, as Bradley found in 1993. Squares is a half-hour programme, here padded to fill a full hour of television. The show doesn't have the energy to keep going for a full hour, and viewers zapping over during the commercial break got the soft-centred Bake Off on the other side.

There's a new series of Celebrity Squares to be made. We hope there's another series of Who's Doing the Dishes?, an ITV daytime programme with no budget and bagsful of attitude. Four strangers arrive on a celebrity's doorstep. Over the course of the evening, they'll be fed and watered, and be given clues to the celebrity's house. Hovering over them is the programme's main jeopardy: not doing the washing up afterwards.

Who's Doing the Dishes? Brian with Nick Hancock.

The format is recognisable (two parts Come Dine with Me, two parts Through the Keyhole, a dash of Celebrity Masterchef). It wins Most Brilliant Editing: footage from the meal, diary room pieces shot after the event, cartoon sound effects, snatches of pop music, jokes running through each episode. Host Brian McFadden is in his element, larking around with other washed-up ex-celebrities. They're having a great time, and we viewers get to share in this whacky fun.

Pointless won the Rose d'Or, and is therefore the best game show in the known universe.

Who would win in a fight between Bobby Lockwood and Richard Osman? We don't know, we don't wish to find out. Bobby was the champion as Tumble (BBC1) limped to a conclusion. The gymnastics-and-circus contest was the sort of thing people said they would watch, but chose not to when they could watch it. Only Connect moved to BBC2, and included a set of questions based on BBC4 idents. And the incorrect answer of the year, "CCK ND CCK".

October: Entertaining2

Early autumn was a good time to launch a new channel. ITVBe appeared, and took most of the reality programmes that had been cluttering up ITV2. The Only Way is Essex moved over, followed by all the sets in the Only Connect production office. Dinner Date also made the transfer, the nosh-and-snog show got a primetime berth.

That left a hole in the ITV2 schedule, filled by lots of new entertainment programmes. Some of them were gameish. Bad Bridesmaid was an improvised comedy programme with heart. Take a hen weekend, add in a late arrival. Not the stepdad's sister's daughter, but a comedian. Special treats have been arranged, an annoying character derived, and shouting may (but rarely does) happen. It's got a prize, but Bad Bridesmaid is more of a Jeremy Beadle stunt done over a weekend.

Bad Bridesmaid He's wearing no clothes!

Release the Hounds came back for a full series, after its pilot episode last year. ITV2's horror show leans towards the creepy and the kooky, and is great for people who like to see other people flinch at the slightest distraction. This column hasn't warmed to the show, and we're convinced this is our loss. Other countries around the world have made their own editions, and the programme has an international base in Lithuania.

Over on the main channel, Keep It in the Family (3) was a family game show hosted by Bradley Walsh. Great if you're a fan of grannies talking about Justin Beaver or an egg-box, we found it was a long programme that just dragged on forever. The show's gimmick was to drop some celebrities down a trapdoor. Various ITV celebs held prizes, and the one the family didn't want disappeared, followed by its holder. The show's failing was to hide families behind foam masks towards the end, so that we didn't get a reaction shot of the winning team.

The late autumn: nothing ever happens

And that was it. Between Keep It In the Family (3) and Win Your Wish List, there was no new game show on any major channel. Well, there was a pilot programme, Who Repairs Wins, on Watch, but that was it. Two months with nothing to show for it.

Keep It in the Family (3) Glamorous grannies.

Well, nothing except the ongoing success of Strictly Come Dancing, and the continued decline of The X Factor. One of these shows grew week on week, the other lost viewers as the autumn rolled on. One of these shows had a stand-in presenter when the regular host's daughter was injured, the other copied that gimmick for the final. One of these shows was won by the producers' obvious favourite, the other wasn't.

Have I Got News for You had a majority female lineup for the first time ever. Victoria Coren Mitchell hosted, with Katherine Ryan and Janet Street-Porter appearing alongside Paul and Ian. Malta hosted the Junior Eurovision Song Contest with style and aplomb. An official commentary appeared on some UK community radio stations, complete with a Wrong Sort of Shiny warning. We're still singing the hook from "Breaking my heart".

Eurovision Song Contest Ukraine were disliked by the juries, but let it go.

Fferm Ffactor happened. I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! began, continued, and ended. The Apprentice took place, with Alan Sugar proving his spine is made of paper. The BBC Complaints Department concluded that the panel's treatment of Samantha on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue was not sexist. They reached this conclusion on the entirely reasonable grounds that the panel is a fictional construct, it doesn't actually exist, it's just Samantha throwing her voice.

As expected, Aunt Maude won the round of Fabricated Family Pointless, taking "countries that have changed their name since joining the UN". And Dan McColm won Countdown, not just the winter championship but he also had a Perfect Game.

Countdown Dan McColm has our Game Show Achievement of the Year.

The Roll of Honour

(All results as transmitted are final)

Celebrity Big Brother
(January) – Jim Davidson
(September) – Gary Busey
Big Brother – Helen Wood

The Jump – Joe McElderry

The Great Interior Design Challenge
(February) – Sarah Moore
(December) – Martin Holland

Britain's Best Bakery – The Cake Shop Bakery from Suffolk

Splash! – Perri Keilly

Cân i Gymru – Barry and Mirain Evans, for "Galw amdanat ti"

Superstar Dogs – Smurf and Sarah Humphrys

All-Star Dancing on Ice – Ray Quinn

The Taste – Debbie Halls-Evans

Glee Club – Musicality

Sport Relief's Top Dog – Geoff & Buzz, Ian & Maisey, (captain) Gail Emms & Raffa

Brain of Britain – Mark Grant
Brain of Brains – Mark Grant

Just a Minute
(spring) – Tony Hawks
(summer) – Sheila Hancock
(autumn) – Gyles Brandreth
(overall) – Gyles Brandreth

BBC The Voice of Holland UK – Jermain Jackman
RTE The Voice of Holland Ireland – Brendan McCahey

University Challenge – Trinity Cambridge (Ralph Morley – captain, Matthew Ridley, Phil Drnovsek Zorko, Richard Freeland)

(April) – Dave McBryan
(December) – Gerard Mackay

The Great British Sewing Bee – Heather Jacks

Mastermind – Clive Dunning

Eurovision Song Contest – ÖRF for "Rise like a phoenix" (music and lyric: Charly Mason, Joey Patulka, Ali Zuckowski, Julian Maas), performed by Conchita Wurst
Junior Eurovision – RAI for "Tu primo grande amore" (music: Alterisio Paoletti, Fabrizio Berlincioni, Leonardo de Amicis; lyric: Fabrizio Berlincioni, Vincenzo Cantiello, Francesca Giuliano), performed by Vincenzo Cantiello.

Masterchef – Ping Coombes
Celebrity Masterchef – Sophie Thompson
Junior Masterchef – Phoebe Riley
Masterchef The Professionals – Jamie Scott

Big Allotment Challenge – Alex Lomax and Ed Bond

Young Musician of the Year – Martin James Bartlett (piano)
Jazz award – Alex Bone (saxophone)

Eurovision Young Musicians – Ziyu He

The Great Irish Bake-Off – Tracy Coyne
The Great British Bake-Off – Nancy Birtwhistle

Britain's Got Talent – Collabro

(June) – Mark Murray
(December) – Dan McColm

Rostrum Camera – Ken Morse

Only Connect – Europhiles (Douglas Thomson, Khuram Rashid, Mark Seager)

Round Britain Quiz – Scotland (Val McDermid, Roddy Lumsden)

Got To Dance – Duplic8 (Tobias Mead and Jak Tuite-Leach)

Tumble – Bobby Lockwood

One Man and His Dog – Ireland (James McLaughlin and Caleb O'Keefe)

Cog1nio – Iwan James

Horse Wrangling – Kara Philpott

Fferm Ffactor – Roy Edwards

I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! – Carl Fogarty

Counterpoint – Stephen Whittaker

The X Factor – Ben Haenow and Simon Cowell

Strictly Come Dancing – Caroline Flack
Christmas edition – Lewis Smith

The Apprentice – Mark Wright

This Week and Next

Brain of Brains took place. It's the challenge match between the three most recent Brain of Britain winners, and this time included the highest scoring runner-up. David Stainer (runner-up, 2013) took the most of his recall, and was the only player to keep pace with Mark Grant (winner, 2014) in the first half of the show. Mr. Grant moved ahead in the second half of the show, and came out as the winner by three clear points.

Mr. Grant joins Ian Bayley (Brain of Britain 2011 and Brain of Brains 2011) in the next Top Brain ultra-final, which we expect to hear in early 2018.

Mastermind has had its annual celebrity editions on BBC1. We wonder if they might like to change the second round to Twenty Questions Wrong Hotseat, some of the contenders would have done far better.

The civilian edition returned to BBC2, won by Mel Kinsey. He specialised in First Ladies of the USA, scoring 10 (2). Going third in general knowledge, he had little to aim at, shot for the moon and saw how far he got. A very long way: to 26 (3).

Phil O'Rourke led after the opening round on 11 (3), he took the creative accountants U2. A daunting 16 to win required him to be fast or be inerrant; a few mistakes early on ended his challenge, and the final score was 19 (7). Fiona Somerville answered on Athens in the age of Pericles, and closed with a score of 7 (0). A sharp general knowledge round took her to 14 (2). Neville Twitchell watched the Films of Stanley Kubrick, making it to 7 (6); 11 (14) was his final score.

BARB news from the weeks of 14 and 21 December.

  1. Strictly Come Dancing continues to rule, 11.65m saw the final night's action, and 230,000 stopped by RB601 for further action.
  2. The X Factor? 8.05m watched the l-o-n-g results show. That puts Cowell ahead of Sugar, 7.2m saw The Apprentice conclude with three shows in ten days, but that's still a million below the series opener.
  3. 5.6m for Pointless Celebs, 5.5m for I'm a Celebrity Coming Out, 4.15m for Pointless daytime, 3.2m for The Chase daytime, and 3.5m for Christmas Catchphrase. We don't have figures for the Celebrity Squares episode bunged out opposite the Strictly final.
  4. Masterchef The Professionals did well on BBC2, rising to 3.5m for the semi-finals; The Great British Bake Off Christmas Masterclass had 3m. A rare network outing for Mastermind on the 12th allowed it to collect 2.05m viewers, behind Only Connect (2.55m). University Challenge topped both with 3m; the Christmas series began with 2m. Celebrity Mastermind kicked off on BBC1 with 4.3m.
  5. Celebrity Juice varies between 1.85m and 950,000, Swashbuckle brought 540,000 to Cbeebies. Everything on Challenge was beaten by Bigg Boss (the Indian Big Brother) on Colors.

New shows for the first full week of 2015 include Celebrity Big Brother (C5, from Wed). ITV has Diversity Live (Sun). There are new episodes of all good daytime shows. On more obscure stations, The Fanatics pops up on The Satellite Channel (Wed). The Algorithm (TV3, Saturday) pits machine against friends, and The Voice of Holland is back in Ireland (RTE1, Sunday) and UK (BBC1, Saturday). Also back next weekend, Stars in Their Eyes (ITV) with Harry Hill.

The complete ratings list

This is a selection of BARB ratings, trimmed to shows we believe to be game shows. Only the single highest ratings figure for the year is given, and it's listed in millions of viewers. First edition of the series, and series finals, are noted. We use the consolidated ratings, live viewing plus viewing on catch up for a week after first transmission.


1 The Great British Bake Off (final) 08-Oct 13.51
2 Strictly Come Dancing (final) 20-Dec 11.67
3 The Voice of Holland of UK 08-Feb 9.41
4 Eurovision Song Contest 10-May 8.94
5 The Apprentice (first) 14-Oct 8.22
6 Masterchef (final) 16-May 6.58
7 Pointless Celebrities 04-Jan 6.05
8 Who Dares Wins 01-Feb 5.95
9 Celebrity Masterchef (final) 18-Jul 5.53
10 Have I Got News for You (first) 04-Apr 5.5
11 Celebrity Mastermind 03-Jan 5.34
12 The Boat Race 06-Apr 4.51
13 Pointless 24-Jan 4.33
14 A Question of Sport Super Saturday (first) 28-Jun 4.01
15 In It to Win It 24-May 3.75
16 Tumble 16-Aug 3.54
17 Would I Lie to You? 12-Sep 3.21


1 The Great Sport Relief Bake Off 14-Jan 5.07
2 Masterchef The Professionals (final) 23-Dec 4.04
3 University Challenge 17-Feb 3.59
4 The Great British Sewing Bee (first) 18-Feb 3.49
5 Dragons' Den 02-Mar 3.26
6 The Apprentice You're Fired 17-Dec 3.06
7 The Great British Bake Off Masterclass 16-Dec 3.03
8 The Great British Bake Off Extra Slice (first) 29-Aug 2.98
9 Christmas University Challenge 30-Dec 2.97
10 The Big Allotment Challenge (first) 15-Apr 2.77
11 Only Connect 15-Dec 2.56
12 Mastermind 14-Feb 2.44
13 Pointless 14-Feb 2.43
14 Strictly Come Dancing It Takes Two 08-Dec 2.39
15 QI 10-Jan 2.34
16 The BBC Children in Need Sewing Bee (first) 28-Oct 2.25
17 Great British Menu 06-May 2.2
18 The Great Interior Design Challenge 04-Feb 2.14
19 Mock the Week 03-Jul 2.06
20 All About Two 20-Apr 2.04
21 University Challenge Championship of Champions 19-Apr 1.93
22 Antiques Road Trip 30-Sep 1.86
23 Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is 14-Feb 1.76
24 QI XL 11-Jan 1.72
25 Eggheads 22-Jan 1.63
26 University Challenge Class of 2014 08-Jul 1.55
27 Mock the Week Looks Back 02-Mar 1.54
28 The Making of QI 20-Apr 1.53
29 Two Tribes 25-Aug 1.52
30 Never Mind the Buzzcocks 22-Dec 1.45
31 Revenge of the Egghead (first) 24-Feb 1.32
32 Bargain Hunt 01-Aug 1.25
33 Sport Relief's Top Dog (first) 03-Mar 0.97


1 Britain's Got Talent (first) 12-Apr 10.03
2 I'm a Celebrity (first) 16-Nov 9.45
3 The X Factor (first) 30-Aug 8.33
4 Saturday Night Takeaway 08-Mar 6.59
5 Dancing on Ice (first) 05-Jan 6.19
6 Family Fortunes 05-Jan 5.08
7 Catchphrase (first) 16-Mar 4.34
8 Splash! (first) 04-Jan 4.26
9 Amazing Greys (first) 12-Apr 4.05
10 Take Me Out 11-Jan 4.05
11 Big Star's Little Star (first) 25-Mar 3.87
12 The Chase With Celebrities 30-Aug 3.81
13 The Cube 22-Mar 3.79
14 All Star Mr and Mrs 11-Jun 3.75
15 Through the Keyhole 13-Sep 3.61
16 The Chase 29-Dec 3.5
17 Celebrity Squares (first) 10-Sep 3.15
18 Keep It in the Family (first) 26-Oct 3.15
19 Tipping Point Lucky Stars (first) 05-Jul 3.1
20 Who Wants to be a Millionaire (first) 28-Jan 3.09
21 Come On Down! The Game Show Story (first) 10-Aug 2.69
22 Tipping Point 24-Aug 1.79
23 Let Me Entertain You 24-May 1.57

Channel 4

1 Big Fat Quiz of the Year 26-Dec 3.12
2 The Jump (first) 26-Jan 2.62
3 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown 24-Jan 2.51
4 8 Out of 10 Cats (Christmas) 23-Dec 2.07
5 The Taste (first) 07-Jan 1.89
6 Come Dine With Me 04-Jan 1.71
7 Fifteen-to-One (first) 05-Apr 1.63
8 Coach Trip 05-Feb 1.56
9 James Cordon does Deal or No Deal 04-Jul 1.45
10 The Singer Takes It All (first) 01-Aug 1.16
11 Couples Come Dine with Me 07-Jul 1.07
12 The Million Pound Drop Live Not Live (first) 26-Sep 1.04
13 Deal or No Deal 11-May 0.89
14 Four Rooms 15-Jun 0.84

Channel 5

1 Celebrity Big Brother (last) 29-Jan 3.53
2 Big Brother (first) 05-Jun 2.27
3 World's Strongest Man 2014 30-Dec 1.48
4 Jim Davidson Least I'm Not Boring 10-Feb 1.45
5 Celebrity Big Brother's Bit on the Side (last) 29-Jan 1.43
6 Big Brother's Bit on the Side 14-Jul 1.08


1 Fferm Ffactor (last) 03-Dec 0.031
2 Mastermind Cymru 13-Aug 0.024


1 Celebrity Juice (SNTA special) 20-Feb 2.185
2 I'm a Celebrity... Now (last) 07-Dec 1.572
3 Britain's Got More Talent 10-May 1.453
4 The Xtra Factor 31-Aug 1.079
5 Britain's Got Talent (narrep) 20-Apr 0.797
6 Saturday Night Takeaway (narrep) 02-Mar 0.747
7 The X Factor (narrep) 28-Sep 0.623
8 Through the Keyhole 27-Aug 0.576
9 Release the Hounds 06-Oct 0.571
10 Hell's Kitchen 15-Jul 0.546
11 Bad Bridesmaid (first) 11-Sep 0.496
12 Dinner Date 07-Mar 0.485
13 I Wanna Marry Harry 11-Jun 0.378


1 The Chase With Celebrities 30-Dec 0.425


1 Dinner Date 14-Oct 0.135


1 Fort Boyard 30-Apr 0.128


1 Hair (last) 17-Mar 1.089
2 Eurovision Song Contest 08-May 0.711
3 The Voice of Holland of UK (narr rep) 23-Mar 0.661
4 Killer Magic 01-Apr 0.594


1 Only Connect 28-Apr 0.895


1 Junior Masterchef 13-Nov 0.309
2 The Dog Ate My Homework 24-Jan 0.305
3 Jedward's Big Adventure 31-Jan 0.303
4 Ludus 03-Mar 0.292
5 Splatalot 19/09, 6/10 0.279
6 The Dare Devil 28-Feb 0.267
7 Celebrity Driving Academy 23-Apr 0.264
8 Trade Your Way to the USA 24-May 0.226
9 Sam and Mark's Big Friday Wind Up (best of) 20-Apr 0.21
10 Total Wipeout 12-Apr 0.209
11 Copycats 27-Apr 0.198
12 The Slammer 07-Jun 0.194
13 The Joke Machine 28-May 0.172
14 Gory Games Playalong 27-May 0.168


1 Swashbuckle! 21-Dec 0.542
2 Buzz And Tell 21-Dec 0.519
3 Kerwhizz 10-Aug 0.358

BBC Red Button

1 Strictly Final 20-Dec 0.229
2 In It to Win It Playalong 20-Sep 0.068
3 Strictly Red Carpet 03-Sep 0.045
4 Apprentice – Meet Candidates 13-Oct 0.01


1 Come Dine With Me 26-Jan 0.619
2 Monty Don's Real Craft 14-Apr 0.519
3 Four in a Bed 02-Feb 0.462
4 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown 12-Nov 0.347


1 Come Dine With Me 19-Jan 0.201
2 Big Fat Quiz of the Year 27-Dec 0.169
3 Four Rooms 10-Jun 0.14
4 Coach Trip 08-Nov 0.121
5 Four in a Bed 19-Jul 0.119
6 8 Out of 10 Cats 22-Mar 0.115
7 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown 30-Aug 0.113


1 8 Out of 10 Cats 01-Jun 0.171


1 Celebrity Big Brother 04-Jan 0.189


1 Pop Idle Us 01-Feb 0.022


1 Room 101 15-Sep 0.495
2 Mock the Week 21-Aug 0.449
3 QI XL 04-Mar 0.437
4 8 Out of 10 Cats 31-Jul 0.401
5 Would I Lie to You? 13-Aug 0.369
6 QI 31-Jan 0.338
7 Have I Got a Bit More News for You 12-Sep 0.333
8 School of Hard Sums 08-Apr 0.282

Dave +1

1 Big Ask 04-Sep 0.037


1 Four in a Bed 15-Feb 0.155


1 Bargain Hunt 27-Jun 0.018

The Challenge Channel

1 The Chase 07-May 0.239
2 Who Wants to be a Millionaire 05-Jun 0.206
3 The Chase Us (first) 13-Oct 0.202
4 Bullseye 29-Aug 0.198
5 Stars In Their Eyes 27-Dec 0.174
6 Strike it Lucky 28-Dec 0.156
7 Pointless 03-Oct 0.154
8 Catchphrase 21-Dec 0.128
9 Takeshi's Castle 30-Jan 0.128
10 Wheel of Fortune 06-Mar 0.126
11 Timeline (first) 06-Mar 0.104

Challenge +1

1 Knightmare 30-Nov 0.045
2 Play Your Cards Right 07-Oct 0.041
3 Ninja Warrior 21-Nov 0.039
4 Blankety Blank 06-Jul 0.036
5 Crystal Maze 12-Dec 0.034
6 Got to Dance 27-Apr 0.034
7 Celebrity Squares 07-Oct 0.033
8 Family Fortunes 26-Nov 0.032
9 Ultimate Strongman The Next Generation 19-Jan 0.032
10 Take Your Pick 28-Aug 0.031
11 The Price is Right 03-Jan 0.031
12 Fun House 15-Feb 0.03
13 Total Wipeout 22-Aug 0.03
14 Strike it Rich 05-Jan 0.029
15 3-2-1 28-Mar 0.028
16 Finders Keepers 15-Feb 0.026
17 Fort Boyard 28-Aug 0.026
18 Whittle 02-Mar 0.025
19 Fifteen-to-One 02-Oct 0.024
20 Golden Balls 05/3, 14/3 0.024
21 8 Out of 10 Cats Uncut 15-Jul 0.023
22 Showbiz Darts Extra Arrows 09-Feb 0.023
23 Deal or No Deal 29-Sep 0.022
24 Supermarket Sweep 28-Aug 0.022
25 In It to Win It 13-Jul 0.021
26 Blockbusters 27-Sep 0.02
27 A League Of Their Own Sky1 09-Mar 0.018
28 American Ninja Warrior 05-Jul 0.018
29 Pyramid Game With Donny Osmond 09-Jan 0.018
30 Robot Wars 31-May 0.018
31 Are You Smarter than a 10 Year Old? 22/03, 19/04 0.016
32 Wipeout 30-Jan 0.016
33 Treasure Hunt 07-Nov 0.013


1 Bigg Boss 21-Dec 0.259
2 India's Got Talent 08-Mar 0.096


1 Street Market Chefs 04-Jan 0.023
2 Come Dine With Me 22-Feb 0.012


1 Win Lose or Draw 06-May 0.093

Good Food

1 The Great Sport Relief Bake Off 25-Aug 0.06
2 Masterchef The Professionals 08-Apr 0.054
3 The Great British Bake Off 06/04, 18/11 0.053
4 The Roux Scholarship 2013 10-Jul 0.039
5 Masterchef Australia 24-Apr 0.036
6 Masterchef 01-Aug 0.034


1 Three In a Bed 26-Jan 0.037


1 America's Next Top Model 11-Sep 0.393
2 My Kitchen Rules 06-Mar 0.205
3 The Face Us 30-Jan 0.191
4 My Kitchen Rules Australia 18-Jul 0.151
5 The Biggest Loser Us 24-Nov 0.145
6 Four Weddings 10-Aug 0.101

Living It

1 The Biggest Loser Australia 24-Jun 0.09

The Satellite Channel

1 A League Of Their Own S8 05-Sep 0.865
2 Got to Dance 23-Aug 0.7
3 Duck Quacks Don't Echo (first) 07-Feb 0.605


1 Beauty and the Geek Australia 12-Aug 0.087


1 Masterchef Australia 25-Jul 0.051
2 Four Weddings Australia 30-Jul 0.037
3 Four Weddings Canada 20-May 0.035


1 Masterchef Australia 12-Nov 0.307
2 Masterchef Australia The Professionals 04-Feb 0.219
3 Masterchef New Zealand 03-Apr 0.144
4 Masterchef South Africa 06-Mar 0.142
5 Masterchef Canada 18-Jul 0.116
6 Masterchef Ireland 12-Aug 0.097

Photo credits: Objective, CPL / Red Arrow, Boom Kids, TwoFour and Group M, BBC Events Productions London, Remedy / Argonon, DRG and STV, ITV Studios Entertainment, Victory Television, IWC, Initial and Remarkable Television (both Endemol companies), Shine, September Films / Group M, Fresh One / Group M, PBS, YTV.

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