2021’s most-watched TV shows revealed as we head into the new year

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

As we start the new year, we can start to look forward to new TV shows coming to our screens, along with the return of some old favourites. But before we tackle some new binge-watching sessions we can look back on the most-watched tv shows of last year for some inspiration. These are the ten biggest shows in the UK (excluding news and sport), using the seven-day consolidated ratings data from Barb.
1. Line Of Duty – 15.2m
Topping the charts is the BBC cop show Line of Duty. Actors Martin Compston, Vicky McLure and Adrian Dunbar plus writer Jed Mercurio agreed to get tattoos of AC12million when the overnight figures for the final showed that they’d pulled in 12.8million. But more than two million people didn’t watch it live and caught up with it over the next seven days so the figure has now risen to 15.2million
2. Oprah with Meghan and Harry – 13.9m
The intimate chat that was watched by millions, this interview was dynamite for the royals and for everyone watching, especially when Meghan revealed a member of the royal family had asked “how dark” Archie would be before he was born.
3. Strictly Come Dancing Final – 12.2m
Despite only having two contestants on the night due to AJ Odudu having to pull out because of injury, the BBC dance show still pulled in massive viewing figures to watch Rose Ayling-Ellis make history as the first deaf winner.
4. I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here – 10.8m
Storm Arwen nearly scuppered the whole show, but Ant, Dec and the celebs stayed the course and the final managed more than 10m viewers in wet and windy Wales. Will they make it to Australia next year? We’ll have to wait and find out.
5. Vigil – 10.4m
Suranne Jones put in a brilliant performance as police officer Amy Silva in this claustrophobic thriller set on a submarine. Hopefully, Suranne and her edgy character can grace our screens again, but maybe not on a submarine this time!
Looking back on these great shows makes you wonder what this year has in store for our screens. We will hopefully be out and about much more than our lockdown woes allowed in 2021, but we will still love our most-watched TV shows.


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Written by

Claire Gordon

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