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Last Updated: Friday, 29 August, 2003, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Saturday night TV least popular
Noel Edmonds and Mr Blobby
Noel's House Party ended in 1999
Saturday night is now the least watched evening of television in the UK, according to research.

Monday night has now become the most popular time for people to sit down and watch TV.

This is a far cry from eight years ago when Saturday night television was the most watched of the week, when light entertainment programmes such as Blind Date and Noel's Edmond's House Party drew massive audiences.

A viewer survey also revealed people see Noel Edmonds as the potential saviour of Saturday night TV, rather than more talent shows like Pop Idol.

Ratings for Saturday night have picked up slightly this year, with an average of 18.1 million viewers, from a low of 17.8m in 2002, according to the Human Capital media research firm.

But soap operas Emmerdale, Coronation Street and EastEnders appear to be drawing in viewers on Monday evenings, with an average of 19.8 million.

Nearly three-quarters of viewers think the quality of Saturday night television has declined over the past 10 years, according to a survey of 1,000 viewers.

Responsible

The research by Human Capital analysed figures published by industry ratings body Barb from 1995 to the present, as well as talking to viewers.

In 1995, Saturdays were the most popular night on TV with an average audience of 19.3 million.

The survey found 15% of audiences chose Edmonds when asked what they thought would most improve the Saturday night schedules.

Fewer people (11%) said more TV talent shows such as Pop Idol and Fame Academy were the answer.

Of those questioned only 35% said they watched Saturday night TV with their family but 51% said they wanted more shows suitable for family viewing.

Flops

Edmonds's show, Noel's House Party, was a staple of BBC One's Saturday night schedule in the 1990s but was axed in 1999 after a ratings decline.

The programme's host recently admitted he had played a part in the dumbing down of TV.

"We tried our damnedest to make it special entertainment but I'll admit I'm a contributor to the decline in TV standards," he said.

I'm guilty as charged for certain things. I don't say that with pride," he added.

But recent TV entertainment shows have not fared as well.

Programmes such as Brian Conley's Judgement Day, Melanie Sykes's The Vault and Drop the Celebrity led to ITV1 scoring its lowest ever ratings on a Saturday night earlier this year.




SEE ALSO:
Bumper Saturday ratings 'finished'
07 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Noel's call to brighten up TV
05 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Edmonds admits part in TV decline
18 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
The party's over for Edmonds' show
26 Feb 99  |  Entertainment


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