Best of British Documentaries, Factual & Lifestyle, 2017. UK Ratings #1-100

It’s always a pleasure to share the list of the year’s highest-rated unscripted programs.

Here they are for 2017:

  • #1-50 and #51-100 are covered in this post.
  • #101-200 are in the following post (a gift for readers who are deep divers.)
  • My brief Takeaways are below the #1-50 list. Please share your own Takeaways!

Trend

  • I’m sharing more data this year because I hear that many of my readers are watching out for international co-pro’s, pre-buys and format licenses.
  • They are responding to tighter budgets and shrinking commissioning pipelines as channels react to the rise of SVOD services and other online viewing platforms.
Programme Title Channel Share ‘000
1 Blue Planet II BBC 1 45.8 14,011
2 The Great British Bake Off CH4 36.9 10,045
3 Diana, Our Mother: Her life + Legacy ITV 36.7 9,390
4 The Apprentice: The Final BBC 1 32.4 7,986
5 Countryfile BBC 1 36.0 7,670
6 The Apprentice BBC 1 26.8 7,187
7 Antiques Roadshow BBC 1 26.9 6,657
8 Masterchef BBC 1 25.1 6,474
9 Diana, Seven Days BBC 1 32.9 6,425
10 Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum + Dad BBC 1 26.2 6,345
11 Queen’s Christmas Message BBC 1 39.9 6,232
12 Spy In The Wild BBC 1 25.7 6,218
13 Antiques Roadshow Holocaust Memorial BBC 1 25.6 6,076
14 The Real Marigold Hotel BBC 1 23.3 5,999
15 Wild Alaska Live BBC 1 31.9 5,998
16 Gogglebox: Celebrity Special 2017 CH4 24.8 5,502
17 Celebrity Masterchef BBC 1 23.2 5,484
18 Our Friend Victoria BBC 1 24.2 5,397
19 Attenborough / Giant Elephant BBC 1 20.3 5,378
20 The Real Full Monty ITV 24.2 5,362
21 Who Do You Think You Are? BBC 1 22.7 5,242
22 Fake Or Fortune? BBC 1 26.0 5,127
23 Long Lost Family ITV 23.2 5,125
24 Snow Bears BBC 1 23.6 4,969
25 Paul O’Grady / Dogs ITV 21.1 4,960
26 Diana: In Her Own Words CH4 20.6 4,923
27 Watchdog BBC 1 23.5 4,869
28 DIY SOS: The Big Build BBC 1 21.4 4,824
29 The Great Christmas Bake Off CH4 16.1 4,768
30 The Truth About… Sleep BBC 1 20.3 4,704
31 The One Show BBC 1 22.5 4,670
32 Ambulance BBC 1 21.1 4,660
33 Police Tapes ITV 20.5 4,522
34 Eat Well for Less? BBC 1 19.7 4,494
35 Easyjet: Inside The Cockpit ITV 20.2 4,488
36 Panorama: Madeleine McCann BBC 1 19.2 4,474
37 The Real Marigold On Tour BBC 1 18.3 4,411
38 An Hour To Catch A Killer ITV 18.1 4,362
39 Inside London Fire Brigade ITV 18.7 4,317
40 Britain’s Busiest Airport – Heathrow ITV 18.5 4,309
41 Gogglebox CH4 18.0 4,264
42 The Met: Policing London BBC 1 19.5 4,224
43 Martin Clunes: Islands Of Australia ITV 19.4 4,222
44 The Martin Lewis Money Show ITV 17.8 4,221
45 The Cruise : Mediterranean ITV 17.3 4,216
46 Galapagos BBC 1 16.9 4,173
47 Elizabeth And Philip: Love + Duty BBC 1 14.6 4,149
48 Shop Well For Less? BBC 1 17.3 4,104
49 Martin Lewis Money Show Live ITV 17.5 4,098
50 Sir Bruce Forsyth: Mr Entertainment BBC 1 21.7 4,094

The list combines BARB’s Documentary, Hobbies / Lifestyle and Current Affairs categories.

TAKEAWAYS

Natural History

  • Blue Planet II earned an exceptional audience. The series stepped outside the expected stunning wildlife sequences and forcefully addressed the crisis in our environment. That’s supposed to scare off audiences. It didn’t.
  • Blue Chip Natural History had a great year, with Spy In The Wild, Wild Alaska Live and Attenborough’s Giant Elephant winning Top 20 Honors.
  • (I recently covered PBS’s Natural History ratings, including Wild Alaska Live which you can read here.)

Royals

  • Prince Philip carried the weight of the Royal’s ratings in 1H 2017.
  • In 2H, viewers were drawn to Diana’s anniversary (#3, 9, 26, 65), a wedding anniversary (#47) and a Prince’s engagement (#54).

Celebrity / Pop Culture

  • Grieving football star Rio Ferdinand (#10), comedian Victoria Wood (#18) and programs inspired by The Full Monty (#20), The Real Marigold Hotel (#14, 37) and Call The Midwife (#98)…
  • … They are reminders of the evergreen appeal of factual shows inspired by celebs and legendary TV programs or movies.

Where’s Netflix?

  • Netflix and Amazon are private subscription services.
  • They don’t share viewing data, though my colleague Dr John Morse is closely tracking SVOD ratings tools that are being developed by research firms. Read more here…
Programme Title Channel Share ‘000
51 Question Time BBC 1 16.8 4,081
52 The Apprentice: You’re Hired BBC 1 22.9 4,063
53 Reported Missing BBC 1 16.6 4,051
54 Prince Harry & Meghan ITV 16.8 4,034
55 Joanna Lumley’s India ITV 18.3 4,025
56 The Week The Landlords Moved In BBC 1 18.2 3,982
57 Masterchef: The Professionals BBC 2 17.1 3,930
58 The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway BBC 2 17.4 3,908
59 Supermarket Shopping Secrets BBC 1 16.1 3,861
60 Italy’s Invisible Cities BBC 1 14.6 3,859
61 Panorama BBC 1 20.0 3,855
62 Ross Kemp Behind Bars ITV 17.1 3,848
63 Sugar Free Farm ITV 16.3 3,840
64 Gordon Ramsay On Cocaine ITV 16.4 3,839
65 Diana: The Day Britain Cried ITV 14.6 3,817
66 Gino’s Italian Coastal Escape ITV 17.4 3,816
67 Spy in the Wild: Meet the Spies BBC 1 17.6 3,784
68 Top Gear BBC 2 13.2 3,767
69 How To Spend … Christmas ITV 15.8 3,731
70 Serial Killer / Piers Morgan ITV 15.9 3,683
71 The Ganges / Sue Perkins BBC 1 15.9 3,671
72 Love Your Garden ITV 17.6 3,653
73 How To Stay Young BBC 1 15.9 3,648
74 Dec East Africa Crisis Appeal BBC 1 26.5 3,635
75 The BBC Election Debate BBC 1 17.0 3,625
76 Britain’s Best Walks / Julia Bradbury ITV 17.1 3,619
77 A Very Royal Wedding ITV 14.9 3,588
78 Gone To Pot: American Road Trip ITV 13.5 3,585
79 Money: Good Health ITV 14.6 3,559
80 Killer Women with Piers Morgan ITV 15.7 3,553
81 Long Lost Family: Next ITV 15.1 3,524
82 Britain On The Fiddle BBC 1 14.1 3,459
83 The Truth About Stress BBC 1 14.7 3,451
84 Remembrance Sunday BBC 1 37.2 3,442
85 Love Your Home And Garden ITV 16.1 3,436
86 The Harbour ITV 14.4 3,431
87 Paul O’grady: Dogs ITV 14.3 3,419
88 I Am Bolt BBC 1 15.8 3,409
89 Tonight ITV 16.6 3,403
90 The Sheriffs Are Coming BBC 1 14.1 3,400
91 Orkney: When The Boat Comes BBC 1 17.0 3,380
92 Winterwatch BBC 2 14.0 3,378
93 Harry / Meghan: Royal Engagement BBC 1 16.0 3,377
94 Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets BBC 1 14.1 3,372
95 Panorama: Brit’s Offshore Secrets BBC 1 14.2 3,359
96 The Great Pottery Throw Down BBC 2 14.8 3,345
97 Russia With Simon Reeve BBC 2 14.0 3,287
98 Call The Midwife: The Casebook BBC 1 17.0 3,234
99 Devon & Cornwall Cops ITV 14.6 3,206
100 Planet Earth II: A World Of Wonder BBC 1 19.6 3,174