UK Ratings: Top 50+ Documentary & Lifestyle Programs in 2015

This week, we briefly cover the 50+ highest-rated Factual + Lifestyle programs in the UK for 2015, Year-to-Date.

Who Guessed?

  • I phoned several UK producers, and none of them correctly guessed #1.
  • The BBC’s Countryfile came in on top (13.2 rating / 7.7mn).
  • For 25+ years, this weekly hour has drawn viewers to its snapshots of rustic British life. Read our earlier detailed coverage here.
  • Countryfile is a tentpole for the BBC1 schedule.  It delivers audiences way above its budget.

Gear2

Top Gear

  • Countryfile gets a fraction of the promotion invested in the Top Gear franchise (#3 / 6.9 mn).
  • Amazon recently put a value of $250 mn on the Top Gear team for a 36-episode deal.
  • I’m a bit of a broken record on the subject of how public broadcasters don’t value their unsexy but hit programming franchises like Countryfile and Antiques Roadshow.
  • The BBC is wasting opportunities to build viewer loyalty, which is very important now that the Beeb is so politically threatened, like public TV systems everywhere in the English-speaking world.

Here is the UK Top 50+, with more comments below…

PROGRAMME ‘000 Rating
1 BBC 1 Countryfile 7,714 13.2
2 BBC 1 Masterchef 6,952 11.9
3 BBC 2 Top Gear 6,921 11.9
4 BBC 1 Eastenders: Backstage Live 6,849 11.7
5 BBC 1 Eat Well For Less? 5,365 9.2
6 C4 Gogglebox 5,266 9.0
7 BBC 1 Fake Or Fortune? 5,214 9.0
8 BBC 1 Celebrity Masterchef 5,023 8.6
9 BBC 1 Diy Sos: The Big Build 4,824 8.3
10 BBC 1 Rome’s Invisible City 4,820 8.3
11 ITV Mafia w Trev. Mcdonald 4,722 8.1
12 BBC 1 The Truth About Calories 4,560 7.8
13 BBC 1 The Truth About Medicine 4,445 7.6
14 ITV Long Lost Family 4,439 7.6
15 BBC 1 Pets: Wild At Heart 4,423 7.6
16 ITV Joanna Lumley Trans-Siberia 4,341 7.5
17 BBC 1 Secret Britain 4,320 7.4
18 BBC 1 Animals In Love 4,245 7.3
19 BBC 1 Super Cute Animals 4,230 7.2
20 BBC 1 Eclipse Live 4,210 7.2
21 BBC 1 The Met: Policing London 4,175 7.2
22 BBC 1 24 Hours In The Past 4,146 7.1
23 BBC 1 Chelsea Flower Show 3,997 6.9
24 BBC 1 Shark 3,994 6.9
25 BBC 1 The Gift 3,912 6.7
26 C5 Celebrity Big Brother 3,709 6.4
27 BBC 2 The Great British Sewing Bee 3,611 6.2
28 C4 Island w Bear Grylls: Women 3,577 6.1
29 C4 Secret Life Of 4 Year Olds 3,538 6.1
30 BBC 2 Back In Time For Dinner 3,523 6.0
31 C4 Benefits Street 3,467 6.0
32 C4 Island w Bear Grylls: Men 3,421 5.9
33 ITV 100 YO Drivers Ride Again 3,419 5.9
34 BBC 1 The Truth About Fat 3,398 5.8
35 ITV Richard Wilson On The Road 3,397 5.8
36 BBC 1 Billion Dollar Chicken Shop 3,392 5.8
37 ITV Car Crash: Caught On Camera 3,387 5.8
38 ITV P. O’grady’s Animal Orphans 3,333 5.7
39 BBC 1 Atlantis 3,272 5.6
40 BBC 2 B’naire’s Paradise: Necker Is 3,266 5.6
41 ITV More Tales From N’humber 3,246 5.6
42 BBC 1 Inside Out 3,208 5.5
43 C4 The Undateables 3,196 5.5
44 BBC 2 Six Puppies And Us 3,183 5.5
45 ITV Rookies 3,167 5.4
46 BBC 1 Don’t Tell The Bride 3,142 5.4
47 BBC 2 Japan: Earth’s Enchanted Is 3,124 5.4
48 C4 Our Guy In India 3,115 5.3
49 BBC 1 The Truth About Your Teeth 3,104 5.3
50 BBC 2 Dragons’ Den 3,104 5.3
51 C4 The Billion Pound Hotel 3,104 5.3
52 BBC 1 Antiques Road Trip 3,102 5.3

food

British recipe

Genres in Top 20

  • Food gets bigger, with 4 programs in the Top 20, and lots more further down the list.
  • Animals: Blue Chip is giving way to ‘Cute’. I moderated a great panel at Sunnyside of the Doc where the BBC’s Natural History strategy was a topic. You can read more about the discussion here in Realscreen.
  • There’s not much, if any Blue Chip of any genre in the Top 20, and that’s a surprise.
  • Are UK broadcasters and viewers dumbing down?

animal2

Liz Bonnin

Lots of Hosts

  • Rome’s Invisible City features immersive hosts who belay their way into the catacombs, Joanna Lumley heads to Siberia, and lots more…
  • And even better when they’re hooked up with lovable animals, like Liz Bonnin and Paul O’grady.

No Fresh Factor?

  • C4’s innovative and brilliantly-cast Gogglebox rises up the rankings to #6.
  • But there’s nothing new like it in the 2015 schedules.

Sweet Spots: U.S. Factual Networks’ Production Cost Benchmarks 2015

What do 30 channels pay for programs?
For documentaries? And reality series?
Is our commissioning team paying more or less than our competition?
Do preferred producers earn a premium?
Does my pitch fall in the budget sweet spot for my target network?

DocumentaryTelevision.com interviewed dozens of executives and producers to create a unique source of proprietary information about network budgets

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