What Do UK Viewers Watch? Top 100 Factual Programs: Broadcast, 2H 2012

Below are the Top 100 Unscripted Programs on broadcast television in the UK during 2H last year.

  • The scale of these audiences is astounding, at least compared with the appetite for comparable nonfiction programs in the U.S.
  • So is the wonderful diversity of sub-genres and formats.
  • We particularly enjoy the Brits’ loyalty to classic, content-rich docs like Supersized Earth and Rome’s Lost Empire. Specials like these are increasingly rare on US schedules outside PBS and the Smithsonian Channel.
  • Channel 4’s gripping Plane Crash was also a hit for C4’s equally brave/crazy copro partner Discovery US.
  • Programmers everywhere are looking for risky but doable ‘Event Specials‘ like Crash and Felix Baumgartner’s Space Dive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tm68PK8GCuk

The top of the UK list includes:

  • I’m a Celeb – a survival elimination format in its 12th season. Celebs are pitched into a jungle wilderness that is in fact located outside Murwillumbah, the old spiritual home of Aussie hippies and a short drive from the barista-filled surfing paradise of Byron Bay.
  • Countryfile  – a magazine show that captures British nostalgia for village life.
  • Season 3 of BBC2’s Great British Bake Off is a huge hit that combines the elimination format with a rediscovery of Britain’s love for baking, bakers and bakeries.
  • Food-related formats and specials were frequent Top 100 winners.
  • It was a royal anniversary year, and the Top 100 is sprinkled with Windsor family nostalgia. And BTW, why the Queen’s Christmas greeting is classified as a ‘Factual’ program is a mystery.

Antiques Roadshow:

  • We wrote a case study about #5 Antiques Roadshow, a dependable BBC hit for 35 seasons!!!
  • Can you imagine the value of AR if it had been a commercial enterprise?
  • AR is an inspiration if not step-parent to a torrent of valuation-based series led by A+E Networks’ global hit Pawn Stars. 
  • Check out our video on the origin of Pawn Stars here. Scroll down to video #4 in Anatomy of a Hit Reality Series.

To round out the UK picture, we recently published:

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Top 100 UK Factual Programs
Broadcast, 2H 2012 

Viewers /‘000

Title Channel Audience
I’M A CELEBRITY – GET ME OUT OF HERE! ITV 1 10,087
COUNTRYFILE BBC One 7,750
THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF BBC Two 6,743
THE QUEEN’S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE BBC One 6,576
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW BBC One 6,215
ACCUSED BBC One 6,148
PANORAMA: JIMMY SAVILE – WHAT THE BBC KNEW BBC One 5,959
BRAZIL WITH MICHAEL PALIN BBC One 5,741
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? BBC One 5,533
WATCHDOG BBC One 5,354
THE ONE SHOW BBC One 4,994
NIGEL SLATER’S DISH OF THE DAY BBC One 4,909
POUND SHOP WARS BBC One 4,796
SNOW BABIES BBC One 4,752
50 YEARS OF BOND CARS: A TOP GEAR SPECIAL BBC Two 4,726
YOUNG APPRENTICE BBC One 4,575
DIY SOS: THE BIG BUILD BBC One 4,544
INSIDE CLARIDGE’S BBC Two 4,460
PAUL O’GRADY: FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS ITV 1 4,434
FAKE OR FORTUNE? BBC One 4,374
SUPERSIZED EARTH BBC One 4,258
CASH BRITAIN BBC One 4,251
BRITAIN’S HIDDEN HERITAGE BBC One 4,250
ROME’S LOST EMPIRE BBC One 4,234
CRIMEWATCH UK BBC One 4,160
THE QUEEN’S MOTHER IN LAW Channel 4 4,093
RICHARD HAMMOND’S MIRACLES OF NATURE BBC One 4,022
PAUL O’GRADY FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS XMAS ITV 1 4,020
WHEN I GET OLDER BBC One 3,995
MASTERCHEF: THE PROFESSIONALS BBC Two 3,902
PANORAMA SPECIAL: BRITAIN’S HIDDEN HOUSING… BBC One 3,898
GRAND DESIGNS Channel 4 3,872
BRITAIN’S SECRET TREASURES ITV 1 3,869
TRAFFIC COPS BBC One 3,867
ANDREW MARR’S HISTORY OF THE WORLD BBC One 3,852
THE PLANE CRASH Channel 4 3,851
PANORAMA BBC One 3,820
THE TOWN THAT NEVER RETIRED BBC One 3,806
REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY: THE CENOTAPH BBC One 3,766
TURN BACK TIME: THE FAMILY BBC One 3,704
WAR ON BRITAIN’S ROADS BBC One 3,668
NIGEL SLATER’S 12 TASTES OF CHRISTMAS BBC One 3,566
FAKE BRITAIN BBC One 3,554
THE FLOWERPOT GANG BBC One 3,508
THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF CHRISTMAS BBC Two 3,485
THE CORRIE YEARS ITV 1 3,475
PANORAMA SPECIAL: TROUBLE ON THE ESTATE BBC One 3,447
HAIRY DIETERS: HOW TO LOVE FOOD AND … BBC Two 3,421
GOODNIGHT BRITAIN BBC One 3,418
PANORAMA SPECIAL: BRITAIN’S HEALTH TOURI BBC One 3,383
FOOD FACTORY BBC One 3,354
WILD WEATHER IN 2012 BBC One 3,292
HELICOPTER HEROES BBC One 3,279
24 HOURS IN A & E Channel 4 3,234
LOVE YOUR GARDEN ITV 1 3,194
PANORAMA SPECIAL: THE TRUTH ABOUT SPORTS BBC One 3,118
SUPER TINY ANIMALS ITV 1 3,056
PENSIONERS BEHIND BARS ITV 1 3,041
TOM DALEY: DIVING FOR BRITAIN BBC One 3,033
TONIGHT ITV 1 3,019
COUNTRYWISE ITV 1 3,008
QUESTION TIME BBC One 2,975
VICTORIA PENDLETON: CYCLING’S GOLDEN GIRLS BBC One 2,921
ATTENBOROUGH’S ARK: NATURAL WORLD SPECIAL BBC Two 2,878
THELMA’S GYPSY GIRLS Channel 4 2,863
OPERATION ICEBERG BBC Two 2,850
NIGELISSIMA BBC Two 2,845
WARTIME FARM BBC Two 2,845
CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER Channel 5 2,835
GREAT CONTINENTAL RAILWAY JOURNEYS BBC Two 2,827
LITTLE ENGLAND ITV 1 2,814
THE BBC 999 AWARDS BBC One 2,797
PLANET EARTH LIVE: AN ELEPHANT’S TALE BBC One 2,780
THE MIDWIVES BBC Two 2,762
THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF REVISITED BBC Two 2,759
GRIMEFIGHTERS ITV 1 2,745
CRIMEWATCH UK UPDATE BBC One 2,700
CLIMBED EVERY MOUNTAIN BBC Two 2,670
999: WHAT’S YOUR EMERGENCY? Channel 4 2,665
THE TOWN THAT CAUGHT TOURETTE’S Channel 4 2,663
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Channel 4 2,636
SOHAM: A PARENTS’ TALE ITV 1 2,611
PLANET EARTH LIVE: A MEERKAT’S TALE BBC One 2,599
STEPHEN FRY: GADGET MAN Channel 4 2,580
THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF MASTERCLASS BBC Two 2,561
THE ZOO ITV 1 2,558
JOANNA LUMLEY: THE SEARCH FOR NOAH’S ARK ITV 1 2,557
HORIZON BBC Two 2,555
MINIATURE BRITAIN BBC One 2,550
THE ONE SHOW ON ICE – BEST OF 2012 BBC One 2,549
AUTUMNWATCH BBC Two 2,547
VOLCANO LIVE BBC Two 2,519
DOUBLE CROSS: THE TRUE STORY OF THE D-DAY BBC Two 2,488
THE HOTEL Channel 4 2,479

 

Speaking Engagements

MIPDOC
Saturday, April 6, Cannes

THE FUNDING WORKSHOP
Do’s & Don’ts of Getting the Right Partners on Board

Speakers
David Royle, EVP Programming and Production, Smithsonian Networks, USA
Peter Hamilton, Founder, Editor & Publisher, DocumentaryTelevision.com, USA.
Twitter: @doctvdotcom

NEW FRONTIERS IN ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE

Speakers
Tom Jennings, Executive Producer & Founder, 1895 Films, USA @1895films
David Royle, EVP Programming and Production, Smithsonian Networks, USA
Moderator: Peter Hamilton

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WHITE PAPERS & INDUSTRY GUIDES
e-Publications for Executives and Producers
From DocumentaryTelevision.com

Sweet Spots: U.S. Factual Networks’ Production Cost Benchmarks
What do U.S. networks pay for unscripted and documentary programs? Production Cost Benchmarks for 29 U.S. Networks. Documentary and Reality. Plus key contacts. Includes a private consultation. Read more here.

International Documentary Buyers’ Guide
An invaluable resource for producers who are seeking international partners. Profiles 37 channels and slots in 17 countries. Includes the filters and key contacts. Created for Hot Docs. Read more here.

Production Budget Template for a Documentary Special
Our comprehensive production budget package and schedule saves producers time and uncertainty by immediately establishing professional credibility with network production managers. Developed by veteran budget consultant Elizabeth Ventura. Read more .

Diary of a U.S. Reality Network Program Development Executive
Veteran network executive and producer Stephen Harris describes how U.S. networks take pitches and make decisions to commission unscripted programs. Read more.

The Rise & Rise of ‘Pawn Stars’ and Leftfield Pictures
Analysis of the key success factors for History Channel’s breakout hit show and the hot production company that created it. Read more.

Crowd-funding for Documentaries – Case Study: Kickstarter & Plimpton!
Learn the secrets of Kickstarter from a successful documentary fundraising campaign. What is the expected payoff? How much work is involved? Read more.

China’s Documentary Market: Development, Coproduction and Sales
How to approach the expanding Chinese nonfiction market. Our interview-based white paper provides valuable data and key contacts and more. Read more.