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Monday, 28 January, 2002, 14:14 GMT
BBC on top in ratings war
Phil Mitchell
Who shot Phil? gripped soap fans everywhere
The BBC's EastEnders and Only Fools and Horses have snared the hightest ratings for TV shows broadcast in 2001, but ITV can boast the most programmes in the top 50.

Both channels beat BBC Two, Channel 4 and Channel 5, however, as all three failed to register a single show in the top 125 of 2001.

Award-winning soap EastEnders peaked on 5 April when 20.05 viewers tuned in to find out who had shot hardman Phil Mitchell.

2001's top shows
EastEnders: 23.18m
Only Fools and Horses: 21.34m
Coronation Street: 18.4m
A Touch of Frost: 14.69m
Walking With Beasts: 13.99m
Heartbeat: 13.82m
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? 12.65m
Popstars: 12.63m
Its omnibus edition was watched by a further 3.13 million, bringing its total to 23.18 million.

Christmas Day's special edition of Only Fools and Horses saw 21.34 viewers tune in to see what happened to the hapless Del Boy and Rodney, bringing the biggest ratings for an individual showing.

ITV's first entry in the figures was at number three with its flagship soap Coronation Street, after a May episode topping the 18.4 million mark.

In total ITV scored 28 of the top 50 ratings, with the highly bankable actor David Jason hitting fourth place with a January edition of A Touch of Frost, which attracted 14.69 million viewers.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire
Millions tuned into see Chris Tarrant hand over cash to contestants

Jason is also star of Only Fools and Horses, and has long been a popular face on TV.

A show whose stars were created by computers, BBC One's Walking With Beasts, performed well in fifth place.

Its special effects and revelations about the earth's history hooked 13.99 million viewers.

Perennial favourite Heartbeat, set in the 1960s in rural Yorkshire, scored its highest viewing figures in January as 13.82 million people watched.

It beat its closest long-running rival at the BBC, Casualty, which was way down the list at number 30, with 10.02 million viewers in the same month.

Football

Quiz shows also featured in the list, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? notched up its best rating for its New Year's Day edition, with 12.65 million viewers.

ITV's talent search Popstars reached an audience of 12.63 million as the winning members of Hear'Say were unveiled to the nation.

A spin-off of the show, Pop Idol, is currently proving popular on ITV.

BBC sitcom My Family, starring Zoe Wanamaker and Robert Lindsey, came in at number nine, closely followed by a January instalment of Emmerdale.

The highest sporting event was for the England v Albania football match on 5 September as 11.64 millions fans tuned in.

The most-watched film was Deep Impact which was shown to 11.25 million BBC One viewers on 2 January.

See also:

15 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Ratings mysteries solved
26 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Del Boy triumphs in Christmas ratings
22 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
The great ratings mystery
24 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
BBC claims news ratings victory
12 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
Blind Date makes strong return
23 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
ITV's failed football gamble
27 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
Digital difficulties ahead for TV
29 Nov 00 | Business
Granada sales jump
28 Nov 01 | Business
Digital woes cost Granada jobs
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