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Downton Abbey, David Tennant and Digital TV Recorders; Freeview celebrates 10th birthday by exploring the biggest TV developments of the last 10 years

Posted October 30, 2012 - Press Releases

  • Revival of period drama and rise of British comedy top list of best programme trends;  Downton Abbey and The Inbetweeners voted best new shows
  • Poll reveals that PVRs, TV catch up services and mass access to subscription-free digital TV channels are the nations’ favourite tech developments of the last decade
  • Scripted reality shows confirmed as most annoying TV programme development of the era, TOWIE fails make Top 20 new shows

Freeview, the UK’s biggest TV service today marks its 10th birthday with new research exploring TV developments since the service launched in 2002. TV viewers hailed the last ten years as a golden period for television, with 8m Brits1 agreeing that TV has never been so good.

The revival of period drama on British TV (19%) and rise of British comedy shows were voted as the best programme developments.

ITV’s Downton Abbey headed the list of best new programme to have launched in the last 10 years, just ahead of the hugely popular Channel 4 comedy The Inbetweeners and BBC’s successful crime drama Sherlock.   From an overall list of 25 of the most-watched TV shows to emerge during the period, scripted reality shows The Only Way is Essex (25th) and Made in Chelsea (24th) sank to the bottom of the list.

Top 10 of the Best TV shows launched in last 10 years:

  1. Downton Abbey, 2010 (11%)
  2. The Inbetweeners, 2008 (8%)
  3. Sherlock, 2010 (7%)
  4. The Apprentice, 2005 (7%)
  5. X Factor, 2004 (5%)
  6. Come Dine with Me, 2005 (5%)
  7. Gavin and Stacey, 2007 (5%)
  8. Planet Earth, 2006 (5%)
  9. Dancing on Ice, 2006 (4%)
  10. Doc Martin, 2004 (3%)

Ilse Howling, MD of Freeview commented: “From Downton to Dragon’s Den, Sherlock to Shameless, the last ten years have been a golden era for TV viewers.  Now that Digital Switchover has completed, the whole country can receive Freeview and Freeview HD which means universal access to the most-watched TV shows without the need for a subscription.”

Over the last ten years, the introduction of technology which allows viewers to watch programmes when they want has been the most important according to those polled. TV catch up services such as BBC iPlayer, the ITV Hub and 4oD (36%) and the availability of digital TV recorders such as Freeview + (14%) were the consumers’ choices for the most important technological TV developments.  Digital Switchover, giving mass access to free digital channels across the UK also scored highly, with one in ten (10%) stating this was the most important development of the period. The launch of 3D TV ranked eighth of the ten options (5%), with mobile TV in 9th place (4%).

Ilse Howling, MD of Freeview, added: “The rapid pace of technological change has offered viewers greater choice in how and when they choose to watch their favourite programmes, and dramatically improved the viewing experience. Our focus for the next decade will be to continue to bring people vibrant and high quality TV for free, in the format they want by making technology accessible.”

When asked to select the three most annoying TV developments of the decade, scripted reality shows (54%), the rise in the number of talent shows (47%) and the growth in celebrity formats (25%) featured most prominently.

The favourite new TV talent to emerge in the last ten years was headed by former Doctor Who star David Tennant (18%). Surprise Surprise host Holly Willoughby (14%) finished as the highest ranked female star.

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