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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 December 2006, 08:26 GMT
The year on TV: 2006
Some of the key entertainment stories in 2006 came from the world of television in a year that saw the rapid evolution of digital broadcasting and the emergence of High Definition TV.

New shows such as Life on Mars and Planet Earth offered a respite from reality TV and the inevitable US favourites. Tune in for more memories.


David Tennant and Billie Piper in Doctor Who
Tennant made his debut as Dr Who in last year's Christmas special

Some 8.3m viewers tuned in to watch the second series of Doctor Who since its revival, with David Tennant replacing Christopher Eccleston as the Time Lord.

His success saw the 36-year-old Scot voted the best Doctor by readers of Doctor Who Magazine, beating Tom Baker.

The series once again took three prizes at the National Television Awards.

But Billie Piper will not be returning for the third series. The actress, who announced her departure in July, will be replaced by Freema Agyeman.


Pete Bennett
Pete Bennett became the winner of the seventh series in August

The celebrity version of Big Brother launched the reality TV season, and introduced fake winner Chantelle to her pop star husband Preston.

The seventh series kicked off in May, and was marked by early walk-outs from George and Shahbaz, plus dubious late entries for Susie, while Nikki returned after being evicted from the house.

Pete, a musician with Tourette's Syndrome, was favourite from the start of the show and the eventual winner.

Meanwhile Channel 4 has secured the rights to Big Brother until 2010.


Martin Sheen and the late John Spencer (r) in The West Wing
Actor John Spencer had to be written out of the finale following his death

Political drama The West Wing, starring Martin Sheen as president Jed Bartlet, ended its seven-year run on TV.

The award-winning US show picked up an Emmy for four consecutive years for TV drama, and nine in its first season.

Creator Aaron Sorkin, who left the show after the fourth series, returned to US TV in the autumn with Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, to critics' approval.

Another US TV hit Lost returned for a second series to C4, but Sky Out outbid them and snapped up the future rights.


(Back Row) Mike Read, Tony Blackburn, Pat Sharp, Rufus Hound (Front Row) Dave Lee Travis, Reggie Yates, Janice Long, Sir Jimmy Saville, Edith Bowman, Sarah Cawood
The final show was co-hosted by 10 former Top of the Pops presenters

In June, the BBC announced it was axing weekly music show Top of the Pops, saying it could no longer compete with 24-hour music channels.

BBC's Jana Bennet said the show had come to its "natural conclusion", but Noel Edmonds called it "a tragedy".

Sir Jimmy Savile, who presented the first edition in 1964, co-host the final show, looking back over its 42-year history and memorable archive.

It was also announced that sports show Grandstand would be phased out by 2009.


Steve Irwin
Mourning Australians hailed Irwin for his conservation work

Thousands mourned 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin's sudden death after the Australian naturalist was killed by a stingray during a diving expedition.

The 44-year-old wildlife star was struck in the chest by the stingray's barb while filming a documentary.

His death was caught on film, but his wife - and mother of their two children - vowed it would never be broadcast.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said the country had lost a "wonderful and colourful son".


William Shatner
William Shatner played Captain James T Kirk in the early series

Star Trek, the definitive science fiction franchise, celebrated its 40th anniversary in September.

The most recent series, Enterprise, came to an end in 2005, but fan films remain prominent on the internet.

A model of the Starship Enterprise sold at auction for $576,000 (308,000), and a new movie was announced with Lost director JJ Abrams at the helm.

Meanwhile plans to send the ashes of Star Trek actor James Doohan into space remain on hold.


Richard Hammond
The presenter suffered short-term memory loss after the accident

Richard Hammond's dramatic car crash on while filming for BBC's Top Gear dominated the headlines for many weeks.

The 36-year-old TV presenter suffered a "significant brain injury" after he lost control of a jet-powered car travelling at speeds of up to 300mph.

He was rushed to a hospital in Leeds, but was moved out of intensive care within two days of the crash. Doctors praised his "remarkable" recovery.

Filming was briefly suspended on Top Gear. Hammond is expected back in 2007.


Michael Grade
ITV called the appointment of Grade a "real coup"

In November, BBC chairman Michael Grade made the surprise move to ITV in an effort to turn around the commercial channel's decline.

One year after ITV celebrated its 50th anniversary, ITV1's audience share has shrunk to about 20% and there has been a dramatic drop in advertising revenue.

A string of flops saw ITV branded "unwatchable", while key shows Where The Heart Is and Bad Girls were axed.

Earlier this month, BSkyB bought a 17.9% stake in the broadcaster apparently blocking an NTL takeover bid.

The year in arts: 2006
28 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
The year in music: 2006
26 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
The year in film: 2006
25 Dec 06 |  Entertainment

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