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Do you remember where you were just over a decade ago when Susan Boyle shocked the nation with her iconic rendition of ‘I Dreamed a Dream?’ Probably. Because epic collective-watching moments like those came maybe once a year. Now, thanks to the real-time commentary and tribalism of social media, we can connect over TV moments every day.

While Susan was giving the judges a first-class lesson in not judging a book by its cover, people were text messaging a handful of close friends. In 2019, when Ted Hastings was getting a grilling in the interrogation room, an army of Line of Duty fans on Twitter could discuss and analyse every scene, every line, every gesture – and had the skills to make truly excellent memes.

TV is a media form that starts conversations more than any other, and about which anyone can join in the discussion. And 2019 gave us plenty to talk about.

Using social media insights, gathering thousands of Tweets, hashtags and impressions, the UK’s most popular TV platform, Freeview, has rounded up the TV moments that truly engaged the public – not the most publicised ones, but the moments that really got people talking.

1. LOVE ISLAND – The post-Casa Amor Blow Out, 3rd July

Casa Amor blowout - Credit ITV2

Who could forget the drama that unravelled after this year’s Casa Amor stint? From Anna confronting Michael after he dumped best friend Amber, to Amy delivering Love Island 2019’s most iconic line to Curtis; “I was coming back here to tell you I loved you”.

884,000 mentions

577,000 hashtags used

2. LINE OF DUTY, Final episode and TV’s best synchronised sitting, 5th May

Series 5 of Line of Duty gripped the nation throughout Spring, but it was the final episode that got everyone talking, and in particular the perhaps unintentional, but very powerful, synchronised sitting between DI Kate Fleming and DS Steve Arnott.

95,000 mentions

82,000 hashtags used

3. BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT – Simon Cowell gives Comedian Kojo the Golden Buzzer, 14th April

Golden Buzzer Comedian Kojo

There was a Twitter storm when Simon Cowell finally showed us his softer side and reached to give Kojo the comedian the once-in-a-season Golden Buzzer, giving the nation serious goosebumps.

70,000 mentions

44,000 hashtags used

4. DANCING ON ICE – Gemma Collins’ epic tumble, 27th January

Gemma Collins Dancing on Ice - Credit Rex Features

If there was one woman who stole the TV limelight this year, it was The GC. From her Dancing on Ice debut, to her feisty comeback to Jason Gardiner’s critical feedback, there were plenty of eventful moments - but the one which racked up plenty of Tweets was of course her big fall on episode three.

76,000 mentions

31,000 hashtags used

5. LUTHER – The unforgettable night bus scene, 1st January

Luther night bus - Credit BBC

The fourth most talked about moment on the list takes us back to the first day of 2019, and Luther’s return to our screen. The moment that people couldn’t forget? That terrifying night bus murder scene.

51,000 mentions

33,000 hashtags used


6. I’M A CELEBRITY, GET ME OUT OF HERE – Caitlyn’s shower, 19th November

This year’s I’m a Celebrity was packed full of memorable moments, with honourable mention going to Roman’s Ant and Dec impression. However, Caitlyn’s self-confidence as she took her first bikini Jungle shower really got fans talking, as they flooded to Twitter to share their praise and support. A very worthy and progressive Jungle moment for the transgender community.

43,000 mentions

26,000 hashtags used

7. STRICTLY COME DANCING - #TeethGate, 5th October

Strictly Anton teeth blunder - Credit BBC

TV blunder of the year award goes to Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood, who mentioned he was distracted by Anton Du Beke’s fake teeth during an Austin Powers themed dance. The problem? The teeth were, in fact, his real teeth, which made for some seriously awkward viewing.

41,000 mentions

36,000 hashtags used

8. THIS TIME WITH ALAN PARTRIDGE – Partridge returns to our screens, 25th February

2019 marked the year Alan Partridge returned to our screens after a 20-year hiatus, and fans, old and new, took to social media to declare their love for the legendary comic character - particularly his hilarious routine on how to use a toilet on a train.

35,000 mentions

22,000 hashtags used

9. FLEABAG – Season 2 finale and the Priest’s Speech, 9th April

Fleabag finale - Credit BBC3

BAFTA and Emmy-winning Phoebe Waller-Bridge had plenty to be proud of in 2019, but the heart-warming #HotPriest speech in the season 2 finale was the scene that sent fans in to a frenzy.

27,000 mentions

14,000 hashtags used

10. GBBO STAND UP TO CANCER - James Acaster’s breakdown, 13th March

It’s not unusual for someone to crumble under the pressure in the Bake Off tent, but James Acaster’s legendary response to critical Paul Hollywood’s questioning became a meme sensation in minutes; “Started making it. Had a breakdown. Bon Appetit.”

21,000 mentions

15,000 hashtags used

11. CLIMATE CHANGE DEBATE – David Attenborough’s speech, 9th July

Climate Change Debate - Credit ITV

When ITV News showed David Attenborough’s speech on climate change in parliament, thousands were moved by his powerful and emotional delivery, especially as he turned to the young audience and said “It is their world that we’re playing with. It is their future in our hands.”.

18,000 mentions

3,000 hashtags used

12. SEVEN WORLDS ONE PLANET – Deforestation and palm oil scene, 3rd November

Seven Worlds One Planet - Credit BBC

Seven Worlds One Planet was David Attenborough’s highly anticipated show of the year, with one scene in particular really opening the eyes of the nation. In the final scenes of the Asia episode, Attenborough showed the devastating effects of deforestation on our planet, sparking online conversation about the unsustainable use of palm oil across the globe.

13,000 mentions

11,000 hashtags used

13. THE APPRENTICE – The rollercoaster scene, 6th November

There’s something strangely satisfying about seeing a man in a suit squeal, and that’s exactly what we got when The Apprentice sent candidates to Thorpe Park, leaving the nation in stitches as Ryan Mark Parsons cried the whole way around.

13,000 mentions

10,000 hashtags used

14. RU PAUL’S DRAG RACE UK – The Frock Destroyer’s performance, 31st October

The Frock Destroyers - Credit BBC

The first series of Drag Race UK gave us plenty of celebrity guest judges, All Star cameos and Death Drops, but the most Tweeted moment of the show goes to girl band, The Frock Destroyers, and their iconic performance to Break Up (Bye Bye), which went straight to number 2 in the iTunes charts.

10,000 mentions

7,000 hashtags used

15. POLDARK – George Warleggan saves Ross, 26th August

Poldark series finale - Credit BBC

Triggering hundreds of thousands of tweets throughout the series, Poldark was certainly a show that we couldn’t shut up about. The finale, of course, was the showstopper with scenery-chewing bad guy, George, unexpectedly saving the day.  

5,000 mentions

4,000 hashtags used