THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Top-rating UK TV Programmes

campaignlive.co.uk, Tuesday, 17 December 2002 12:00AM

1. EASTENDERS. BBC1, Tuesday 1 January. TVR: 26.2

John Reith, the first director general of the BBC, was unequivocal in his commitment to quality public service broadcasting. Reith unfortunately died in 1971, aged 82. So hats off to Babs Windsor for portraying him as he would look today.

2. CORONATION STREET. ITV1, Tuesday 1 January. TVR: 25.8

The Guardian's veteran TV critic, Nancy Banks-Smith, quite likes this programme, so it must be good. According to the promotional material, it's set in Manchester and shows poor people squabbling.

3. POP IDOL LIVE FINAL. ITV1, Saturday 9 February. TVR: 24.1

Commercial TV goes back to the future with this latest revival of the talent show format. What next? Miss World? Sunday Night at the London Palladium? This one reeks strongly of embalming fluid. Or is it hair gel? So hard to tell.

4. PARTY AT THE PALACE. BBC1, Monday 3 June. TVR: 22.6

Apparently Crystal Palace Football Club, having completed yet another highly successful season, got some beers in for the lads and lots of other liggers turned up too. Many of them had a Royal We.

5. ENGLAND V BRAZIL: World Cup 2002. BBC1, Friday 21 June. TVR: 22.5

Isn't it always the way? You're really up for it. Mounting excitement. Seaman. Anticlimax. Premature exit. Stop Crying Your Eyes Out. Back to the drawing board. Or the pub for that matter. (Several other World Cup matches should by rights be in the top ten but we've ignored them in the interests of ... well, being interesting.)

6. AUF WIEDERSEHEN, PET. BBC1, Sunday 28 April. TVR: 22.4

Gastarbeiter Scheisse mit dem Cheeky Geordies. Ersatz tired-old-tat Filmspeil. Sprachen-zie: "Why aye!"

7. A TOUCH OF FROST. ITV1, Sunday 27 January. TVR: 22.4

Old geezer solves crimes and is occasionally irascible. Oh yes, and he's unconventional and troubled by mild inner demons. He's quality, is that David Jason. Time to retire? Don't be a plonker, Rodney. This is a one-man ratings magnet.

8. HEARTBEAT. ITV1, Sunday 7 April. TVR: 21.5

More plod, this time with nostalgic knobs on.

9. WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? ITV1, Sunday 3 February. TVR: 21.0

Chris Tarrant, that's who. Not that he isn't many times over already. Gauge the sincerity in his voice as he talks of "serious, life-changing sums of money" when the total hits £32,000. Which is, like, just a week's wedge for some people.

10. I'M A CELEBRITY - GET ME OUT OF HERE. ITV1, Sunday 8 September. TVR: 19.7

Emotionally unstable D-list artistes venture into the jungle and eat spiders and things in attempt to bolster flagging careers.

Barb data supplied by Zenith Media. TVRs are against all individuals.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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