IT SEEMS THAT good, old-fashioned family-friendly entertainment remains popular with Irish television viewers, with the Late Late Toy Show and the Eurovision Song Contest being the most watched shows of last year.
The Toy Show secured an average viewership of 1,528,000 viewers last December – making it not only the most watched programme of 2011 but also the most watched programme in Ireland for 17 years.
Meanwhile, The Eurovision Song Contest was the second-most watched show of last year with more than 1,182,000 viewers. The Rose of Tralee was also popular, with 829,000 viewers, according to figures released by RTÉ.
The Mrs Brown’s Boys Special, starring Brendan Carroll, was the most-watched TV show over Christmas. A total of 880,000 viewers tuned in on Christmas day.
The most popular sporting event on television last year was the All Ireland Senior Football Final (Kerry vs Dublin), attracting an average audience of 1,085,000 viewers last September and securing it the number three position in the overall line-up.
Other sporting events which attracted large audiences included the All Ireland Senior Hurling Final (Kilkenny vs Tipperary), The Six Nations Rugby, the Euro 2012 Play Off and The Rugby World Cup.
In the genre of politics, news and current affairs, The Frontline Leaders Debate drew an audience of 964,000 in the final days ahead of the General Election – making it the fourth most-watched programme in 2011. Meanwhile, Prime Time’s Presidential Election Special and The Frontline (final Presidential candidate debate) both attracted audiences of over 650,000 as did RTÉ’s coverage of the visits of Queen Elizabeth II and President Obama to Ireland.
Lifestyle programmes such as Secret Millionaire, Departure Day, Arrivals, What’s Ireland Eating? and Property Crash – Where To Now? all attracted audiences ranging from 550,000 – 673,000, RTÉ said.
Drama proved popular last year as well, with returning series LOVE/HATE - which was recently nominated for 10 IFTAs – drawing an average audience of 659,000.
The top 10 most viewed programmes of 2011
1. The Late Late Toy Show – 1,528,ooo average viewers
2. The Eurovision Song Contest – 1,182,000 average viewers
3. The Sunday Game Live (Football Final, Kerry vs Dublin) – 1,085,000 average viewers
4. The Frontline Leaders’ Debate (February 14) – 964,000 average viewers
5. Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special – 951,000 average viewers
6. Mrs Brown’s Boys (February 5) – 924,000 average viewers
7. The Late Late Show (February 11) – 886,000 average viewers
8. The Sunday Game Live (Hurling Final, Kilkenny vs Tipp) – 847,000 average viewers
9. The Rose Of Tralee – 829,000 average viewers
10. RTÉ News: Nine O’Clock (March 20) - 813,000 average viewers