The research showed that over this period there were 13,000 programme transmissions making up almost 9 million hours of transmitted heritage television or 2 billion ‘viewer hours’. The top five programmes made a 61% contribution to the amount of viewing in the study and were all programmes about antiques; 98% of all adults saw at least one heritage programme during the year, and 20% watched at least 99 programmes during the year.
The ten top-rated heritage titles in terms of audience contribution (where audience contribution refers to percentages of viewers in comparison with the total television viewing audience) were as shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Ten top-rated heritage titles
|2||Cash in the Attic||BBC1||14|
|8||Time Team||Channel 4||2|
|9||A Picture of Britain||BBC1||2|
Excluding antiques programmes, the ten top-rated titles in terms of audience contribution were as shown in Table 2.
Table 2: Ten top-rated heritage titles, excluding antiques programming
|3||Time Team||Channel 4||6|
|4||A Picture of Britain||BBC1||6|
|6||Build a New Life in the Country||Five||4|
|7||Tales from the Green Valley||BBC2||4|
|8||Around the World in 80 Treasures||BBC2||2|
|9||Castle in the Country||BBC2||2|
In television analysis broadcasters rely on audience contribution percentages rather than raw viewing figures, as contribution demonstrates how individual programmes compare with others in terms of total television-viewing audiences.
For example, while Time Team did not figure as highly in raw viewing figures, it averaged a consistently high audience contribution, ranking third. None the less, viewing figures for the top five were dominated by ancient civilisations: Egypt, Rome and China. BBC1’s Egypt was a docu-drama series about the early Egyptologists and scored the highest average viewing figures of 5.7 million viewers. A less traditional series was A Picture of Britain, also on BBC 1, fronted by David Dimbleby as he travelled across Britain to bring to life past artists’ views of the country. This attracted an average of 4.3 million viewers. The lavish historical drama Rome pulled in 3.9 million viewers. Other successes included The Lost World of Friese-Greene, Coast and The Story of 1.
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