TV's Biggest Blockbusters
ITV1 ... Saturday 21st July 2012 ... 8.35-10.30pm
This could be an interesting countdown documentary which charts by category some of the biggest events and television series of all time – although not mentioned in the ITV1 press release - personally, I really hope they find space and time to honour 5 of the most iconic television series ever - The Avengers, Doctor Who, Granada’s Sherlock Homes, Quatermass and The Prisoner; in comedy - The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show and Fawlty Towers and in sport - England v Brazil and England v West Germany both in the 1970 World Cup - they must surely rank as some of television’s most watched programmes.
Viewing figure numbers are dependant upon a great number of variables - ie, time, channels available, network scheduliing, etc and copyright availability of the clips.
2012 sees Great Britain complete the digital switchover, this two-hour special celebrates the most watched shows in television history and the most popular TV moments ever - from Hilda Ogden leaving Coronation Street to Rodney and Delboy finding that watch in Only Fools and Horses. It also features those events that led to massive ratings figures - last year's Royal Wedding, the 1966 World Cup Final, and Torvill and Dean at the 1984 winter Olympics. Including highlights from the most watched programmes on television today and a look back at favourites from the past 60 years.
As 2012 sees Britain complete the digital switchover, this two-hour special for ITV1, counts down the biggest rating television shows ever to hit our screens.
These days, shows and events such as The X Factor final, England football matches and Royal weddings still manage to pull in huge audiences as the nation gets together to watch talked-about TV. But back in the days of a mere four channels to choose from, even the most unexpected shows could attract staggering viewing figures.
Split into four categories ...
Entertainment; Live Events; Drama and Soaps; and Comedy ...
TV’s Biggest Blockbusters counts down the top ten shows with the biggest audiences in each section.
This exclusive programme, based purely on viewing figures, features ratings hits such as Jim'll Fix It, The Royal Variety Performance, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding, Coronation Street, EastEnders and Bread, and also reveals more unusual ratings blockbusters.
Who knew an episode of Neighbours where nothing much happens could have attracted an audience of over 21 million during a stormy night in Britain in February 1990?
Or that the highest ever rating episode of game show Double Your Money, with an audience of 19.4 million, was filmed in Soviet Russia? Host Hughie Green wasn’t even allowed to hand out cash in the communist state, so had to change the prizes to commodities instead with a TV being worth more than the average annual wage.
Who can forget Torvill and Dean ice-dance skating gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics?
Dirty Den serving Angie with divorce papers on Christmas Day in the Queen Vic? Or Hilda Ogden leaving the Weatherfield cobbles for the last time?
And they discuss the huge worldwide events like the assassination of JFK and the Apollo 13 mission which saw television sets being used for the first time as a means of watching the news unfold across the pond.
During the Entertainment show countdown, which includes hits such as Double Your Money, It'll Be Alright on the Night and This is You Life, TV Presenter Melanie Sykes reveals that she once wrote to Jimmy Saville hoping he could make her dreams come true. She says: 'I wanted Jim to fix it for me to be a Charlie’s Angel. It never happened.'
Sir Trevor McDonald talks about the countdown of Live Events, including the Apollo 13 mission to land on the moon in 1970. He talks about the nation watching live coverage on television to find out if the astronauts would return to earth safely after Apollo 13 suffered a fire and the mission was aborted. He says: 'This is supposed to be the start of the new age of space travel ... it must not end in failure.'
In the drama and soaps category, which includes London’s Burning, Neighbours, Dallas and The Sweeney, William Roache looks back on Inspector Morse. He says: 'Inspector Morse was always classic crime with a little bit of culture.'
The comedy category includes ... To The Manor Born, The Benny Hill Show and Only Fools and Horses.
Sources: ITV1 Press Centre/DigiGuide
(Surprisingly the ITV1 Press Release doesn’t mention The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show)
Last edited by mrs_emma_peel; 16-07-12 at 05:49 PM.
I'll be watching anyway. Obviously I'm completely alone on Britmovie here but I love stuff like this. If only to see how creative they have to be with programmes they haven't got the rights to
I think in its day, The Forsyth Saga had quite a large viewing public, ( in those b/w days). Corrie with Elsie Tanner and Ena and enders when den handed his wife that special present.
Mrs Thursday was one of the highest rated programmes of 1966, but that will not even get a mention because it has not been repeated.
Its like the carry on films, most people thought they were an embarrassment, cheap tat when they came out, but now they have been repeated so often that people have been brainwashed into liking them.
MINDER seemed to dominate the ratings during the first half of the 80s, it almost became required viewing at one point. Certainly one of the jewels in ITV's crown and still fondly remembered thirty years after its heyday.
The term "Blockbuster" has always puzzled me. What block does it bust?
block-buster n. an aerial bomb capable of destroying a whole block of buildings; also transf. and fig. 1942 Time 14 Sept. 29/1 Inside a sturdy observation tower a mile from the exploding block busters which the Army is now testing.
1943 Times 22 Dec. 4/5 Bombs were falling..many 8,000 lb. and 4,000 lb. ‘block~busters’ among them.
1957 G. Smith Friends vi a. 114 One day I had what seemed to me like a block~buster of an idea for a musical play.
1967 Spectator 6 Oct. 394/2 The ‘block-buster’ is a figure in American urban life who has yet to emerge in this country. He is a property dealer who by subterfuge introduces black residents into all-white neighbourhoods.
I suppose when Tyan said Fuck on air, it was more like a Dambuster, because once the dam was burst, it's been fucking non-stop ever since........
Do any of our American members know?
I noticed Barnes Wallis not only called his bigger bomb a "Blockbuster" but also his even bigger bomb was christened "Grand Slam" - presumably where the golfers and tennis players got the term from.
It does seem ironic that the American interpretation of a show being a bomb, infers that it failed badly, whereas a show that is named after an even bigger bomb infers a huge success. The living, breathing end of the English language perhaps.
I should add the term *block* must have related to the concrete blocks the Tallboy was designed to penetrate at the Le Havre U-boat pens that Wallis designed them for, so the term seems to have been coincident with the American "block", rather than designed to have any relevance.
Last edited by Moor Larkin; 17-07-12 at 10:08 PM. Reason: le havre note
That makes as much (or more) sense as any other explanation I've heard
Thanks, I don't usually expect good explanations on Wikipedia
There is one book I have found that says the term began in the 1920's in this vein, but an NYT writer noted that it made no citations to back this claim up, and the NYT researcher could find no mention of the term in his own paper prior to the war years, so he felt it was creative, rather than genuine. I did notice that a New York boxer was christened the Bronx Blockbuster in 1942 in an American 'paper, but his formal nickname seems to have been the Bronx Barkeep. It struck me that the attempt by the paper to rebrand him indicated that the Americans really liked the *sound* of the word "Blockbuster", and I can imagine how it quickly entered popular usage there.
I think we might be overanalysing it and taking the word too literally regarding its film usage. I imagine it was coined by someone who just wanted to highlight the impact of a successful movie or show - and what could conjure up a greater vision of impact than a powerful explosive with a catchy "in your face" name?
A bit like popular records being called "smash" hits or some overnight sensation being referred to as "dynamite", or a suddenly infectious fashion spreading like "wildfire".... all intended to sensationalise.