[watching] UK TV Ratings Thread

I'm starting this thread for those who are generally interested in the UK TV ratings. I will gather data from a number of sources such as the BARB website and point out how well certain shows are doing in the 7-day consolidated ratings. Getting hold of the final 28-day consolidated ratings has become a lot harder in recent months, as the data is no longer available for public consumption. However, TV channels and streaming services use the 28-day ratings as a benchmark of success.

One piece of interesting news in regards to the ratings is the fact that viewing figure data for Nextflix shows is now eligible for public consumption, thanks mainly to a deal Netflix has struck with the BARB. Both Disney+ and Amazon Prime already have a similar deal in place. It means that ratings for shows like Stranger Things and The Crown will be made public for the very first time. Disney+ shows occasionally do show up in the TOP 50, usually in the mid to high 40s. The final episode of the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi currently holds the record for the highest rated streaming series, with the final episode charting at number 45 in the BARB TV chart with 2.47 million viewers in the first 7 days.
In a chart sadly dominated by ITV's I'm a Celebrity, SAS rogue Heroes continues to be the top television drama with 5.66 million viewers in the 7-day consolidated ratings. Like previous week's episode, it's overnight figure was very low and was only 1.80m. However, the series is doing extremely well, with 4.97m watching it on the iPlayer and a further 1.11m viewers time-shifting the programme (recording it to watch later) this week's episode.

Unfortunately for Netflix, The Crown failed to make the Top 50 and that means I cannot access the viewing figure data because I'm not a member. However, it doesn't stop Netflix announcing the ratings themselves later on, but it does mean that the figure was below 3 million. For now, Disney+ may still hold onto the record set by Obi-Wan Kenobi for the highest rated streaming series in the UK for another week or until Netflix make the data public. I know overnight viewing data for the first three episodes of The Crown. The first episode attracted 1.10m, with episode two taking 666k and episode three falling to 300k.

For those who are interested, below is the chart of ten most popular shows on the BBC iPlayer and the amount of times they have been streamed, as of December 2021.

1. Line of Duty - 137.1m
2. Olympics - 90.2m
3. Pretty Little Liars - 79.9m
4. Euro 2020 - 68.2m
5 .Silent Witness - 62.3m
6. Waterloo Road - 45.3m
7. Doctor Who - 41.8m
8. Death in Paradise - 39.7m
9. The Serpent - 35.4m
10. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK - 33.3m
How do the streaming services deal with binge watches? I watched all of SAS RH in one day - how does that register on the ratings? (Just done the Crown in three evenings, similarly)
Since SAS Rogue Heroes dropped on the iPlayer all in one go, its pre-transmission figures are included in the 7-day viewing figures, hence why 4.97m people watched this week's episode on the iPlayer. They will also count towards the 28-day ratings. The Crown and other streaming shows will be counted in the 7-day and 28-day consolidated ratings. So if all episodes drop at once, which I think is a mistake on Netflix's part, it will dilute the viewing figures somewhat, but they will still show up the consolidated ratings. One episode per week is better approach, as Obi-Wan Kenobi saw steady viewing figures between 2.44m and 2.47m over its six week run. The overnight ratings for The Crown saw a massive ratings drop between episodes.
I should point out that since The Crown doesn't get a proper UK broadcast, unlike Rogue Heroes, as soon as it lands on Netflix, it's eligibility to appear in the ratings is almost immediate. Whereas those SAS Rogue Heroes episodes on the iPlayer not yet broadcast on BBC One count as pre-transmission and don't go towards the ratings until each episode is broadcast.


The Guvnor
Staff member
So I think the binge is properly recorded at the individual episode level, right?

So Nathan might be saying that binges reduce audience growth by dissemination and anticipation?

What I am staggered about is how much attention the streamers get when in fact the audience is loyal the trad broadcasting channels.
So I think the binge is properly recorded at the individual episode level, right?
Yes, that's correct. Each individual episode gets registered separately.

So Nathan might be saying that binges reduce audience growth by dissemination and anticipation?
Binge watching tends to water down the ratings. As you can see from The Crown overnight audience figures for the first three episodes, Episode one had 1.10m, episode two 0.66m, and episode three 0.30m. By the third episode, two thirds of the audience has stopped watching. This is why the BARB introduced the 28-day consolidated ratings back in 2014, to try capture as many of programme's viewers as possible.

What I am staggered about is how much attention the streamers get when in fact the audience is loyal the trad broadcasting channels.
The streamers cannot touch BBC One or ITV1. Most programmes on those two channels usually get on average between 3-5 million viewers, which is usually more than double what a streaming show can get. Most top shows will see figures of 5-6 million viewers. However, it's clear that streaming services have eaten into TV audiences. The shows that perform better in the ratings tend to have a more mature audience, who are less likely to stream or record programming. Around 40% of the people who watch Strictly Come Dancing are over 65 years old, for example. There are exceptions to the rule, with reality shows like I'm a Celebrity seeing viewing figures as high as 9-11 million viewers for its opening week. However, Britain's Got Talent has struggled to get viewers over the past couple of years. It once saw heights of over 14-16 million viewers a decade a go, but now it rarely gets above 8 million viewers.
Let's do a comparison between the ratings 2022 to 1989.

Below is the 7-day consolidated ratings for the 4th September. This is a typical week without any reality shows.

Ratings 4th September.png

Below is the 7-day consolidated ratings from November 1989. You can see the massive difference in ratings.

Ratings from 1989.jpg
SAS Rogue Heroes continues to be the top rated drama of the week with 5.16m viewers. It's chart position has dropped to 17, but that's mainly due to the fact that the first 7 places in the chart are filled by episodes of I'm a Celebrity. The opening game of the World Cup managed to attract 6.40m, but the figures for the first England match won't be released until next week. What surprised me this week was the fact Country File and Michael McIntyre's The Wheel beat every episode of the Coronation Street, which saw the leading soap's highest rated episode of the week come in at 15th place in the TV chart. Eastenders continues to do rather poorly compared to the ITV soaps, as none of the episodes charted in the Top 40 and saw every instalment of the BBC News At Six beat the BBC flagship soap. BBC's Children's in Need saw 3.96m and was 31st most watched programme of the week.