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

1. Coronation Street. ITV1, Monday 24 February. TVR: 34.9

A total of 19.4 million sickos delighted in watching serial killer Richard Hillman try to drown his family in a canal, while others revelled in the heartache inflicted by Peter the bigamist on his two unsuspecting wives. Ratings winners, certainly, but where is the love, people?

2. EastEnders. BBC1, Monday 29 December. TVR: 29.9

"Alfie! Cheer up, love, it might never 'appen." Except that it did: Shane Ritchie became a bona fide chick magnet. It's a funny old game, as they might say in the Square.

3. Millionaire Tonight with Trevor McDonald. ITV1, Monday 21 April. TVR: 28.9

The episode of Tonight with Trevor McDonald that exposed The Major - the cad - and his coughing companion with the stubborn tickly throat. Top marks for those "ahem" high-ranking chaps at ITV for using the "ahem" incident to get "ahem" 16 million viewers.

4. Michael Jackson Tonight with Trevor McDonald. ITV1, Monday 3 February. TVR: 27.6

Remember when the children at school asked: "Did you watch Top of the Pops last night?" The only answer if you didn't want to be left with Brian and his Dungeons & Dragons lead figure collection was: "Yes." It was the same for this programme, but for adults.

5. Heartbeat. ITV1, Sunday 12 January. TVR: 23.1

Four million people a week buy Tunnock's Caramel Wafers and ten million don't miss an episode of Heartbeat. Who are they?

6. I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here. ITV1, Monday 12 May. TVR: 22.9

Lampooned by the press for its Z-listers and plastic crocs, I'm a Celebrity ... hit the "TV that's so crap it's cool to say you watch it" mark and crawled out of the jungle an unlikely ratings winner. And it was good to see Linda Barker, 'cause she's not on the TV much, is she?

7. Billy Elliot. BBC1, Wednesday 1 January. TVR: 22.8

Where is this free-thinking place where a boy can express his inner Wayne Sleep and pirouette down the cobbled streets without fear of getting his head kicked in? Teeside, you say? How many British dads chortled and wept through this, switched off the TV, turned to their young sons and said: "If I ever catch you ballet dancing ..."?

8. A Touch of Frost. ITV1, Monday 3 March. TVR: 22.0

"Time of death?" Actually, detective inspector Jack Frost is still breathing - just. ITV keeps reviving him with the old CPR for the odd "special" because of the miraculous effect he has on ratings. But the time must come when he's replaced by a younger, smaller, nimbler man in a pointy hat with a penchant for icicles.

9. The Royal. ITV1, Sunday 19 January. TVR: 21.6

Heartbeat with stethoscopes. Twelve million tuned into this "compelling hospital drama set against the colourful tapestry of the swinging 60s; a time when starch collars were whiter, uniforms deeper blue and doctors more handsome. When sisters were angels and hospitals a place of magic where miracles happen." You get the picture.

10. Emmerdale. ITV1, Monday 10 February. TVR: 21.4

If Chastity, Eric and the vicar sound like the cast of a West End farce called "Whoops Up Your Jacksie!", then jeez, get with it, man - they all star in Emmerdale. It is - apparently - the only soap with an official fan club and, boy, are they fanatical. Sample question on the online forum: "What's your favourite Dingle moment?"

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