TV shows enjoy ratings lift as lockdown begins

Audiences for a range of TV programmes have jumped as the UK adjusts to life in lockdown, new figures reveal.

Soap operas and news bulletins, along with shows about cookery and antiques, have all seen a lift in their ratings.

In the week ending March 29, five of the top 10 most-watched broadcasts were editions of the BBC News at Six, with the bulletin on Monday March 23 attracting a TV audience of 8.3 million – nearly double the programme’s typical ratings so far this year.

March 23 was the day Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the UK-wide lockdown, and the BBC news special that followed his broadcast had a TV audience of 13.5 million.

Mr Johnson’s speech was watched by 14.6 million on BBC One and 5.8 million on ITV, according to consolidated ratings published by Barb.

The figures include people who recorded and watched programmes up to seven days after transmission.

Ant and Dec
Ant and Dec

They also show that for the week ending March 29, Coronation Street’s most-watched episode enjoyed a TV audience of 7.4 million, with EastEnders and Emmerdale not far behind (7.0 million and 6.8 million respectively).

For Coronation Street and EastEnders, this was their largest TV audience in 2020 so far.

Other programmes enjoying big ratings during the same week included Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway on ITV (9.3 million), and MasterChef (7.8 million) and The Repair Shop (6.7 million) on BBC One.