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Tuesday, 24 August, 1999, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Television's crowning moments
The "Don't Tell Him, Pike" sketch from Dad's Army in 1973
Just what have been the greatest TV moments of all time?

It's bound to provoke a few arguments, but a panel of industry experts at this year's Edinburgh Television Festival is trying to do just that.

Working with the BBC's Radio Times listings magazine, the panellists have come up with a shortlist of 30 of the most memorable moments in TV history.

Monty Python scored highly for its Parrot Sketch in 1969
The classic clips they chose came from a range of comedy, drama and news programmes, for all channels.

But while some are arguably sublime in TV terms, others could raise more than a frown.

On the laughter front, old favourites such Tony Hancock's The Blood Donor, Monty Python's parrot sketch and Rod Hull's Emu attacking Michael Parkinson were among the most selected moments.

For news and factual highlights, viewers chose the Queen's Coronation in 1953, Neil Armstrong as the first man on the Moon in 1969 and the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.

But when it came to defining drama, critically acclaimed serials such as Brideshead Revisited and the BBC's Pride and Prejudice were overlooked in favour of scenes from EastEnders, Coronation Street and Dallas.

Den's divorce from Angie in EastEnders 1986 made many viewers' Christmas
Under each category, a shortlist of 10 was drawn up by the festival committee from the thousands of suggested TV moments.

Radio Times readers were then asked to vote to produce definitive winners in each group. These results will be announced on Saturday 28 August at the festival in Edinburgh.

Panel members included BBC One controller Peter Salmon, ITV's controller of drama Nick Elliott, Stuart Cosgrove of Channel 4, and executives from Sky and independent sector.

They were asked to chose single events and scenes, not whole programmes or series, when making their top 30 selection.

Alongside the more predictable classic choices, such as comedians Morecambe and Wise dancing with newsreader Anglea Rippon in their 1977 Christmas special, were a spattering of more recent laughs.

Bobby Moore raised in triumph for England's World Cup win in 1966
Edina falling into the flowerbed from Absolutely Fabulous in 1992, the final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth from 1989, and Del Boy falling through the bar in Only Fools and Horses in 1989 were all selected.

Modern soap operas scored highly for good drama, including Ken Barlow discovering Deirdre's affair in Coronation Street in 1983 and the discovery of the body under the patio in Brookside in 1993.

While for more up-to-date news Diana, Princess of Wales featured again in her interview with the BBC's Panorama in 1995.

Before that, Nelson Mandela walking free from prison in South Africa in 1990 is also etched in many people's minds.

However in all categories, little impression seems to have been left by TV programmmes from the last decade.

Classic BBC costume drama: The Forsyte Saga from 1967
It was those from the Sixties and Seventies that were the most highly praised. The "Don't Tell Him, Pike!" sketch from Dad's Army in 1973 was in the comedy top three. The rape of Irene in the Forsyte Saga of 1967 was considered important for drama.

While England beating Germany 4-2 to win the World Cup in 1966 was the kind of great sporting event for which TV was invented.

See also:

02 Apr 99 | Entertainment
Not just a laughing matter
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