Page last updated at 18:01 GMT, Thursday, 31 December 2009
Entertainment review of the decade

As the 2000s turn into the 2010s, we look back at the biggest films, records, books and TV shows of the decade.

By Mark Savage
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

David Tennant, Susan Boyle, Phil Mitchell, Nadia Almada
Clockwise from top left: David Tenant in Doctor Who, Susan Boyle, Phil Mitchell is shot, Nadia Almada wins Big Brother

The decade in television will be remembered for two things: Reality shows, and a huge crisis of confidence within the broadcasting industry.

At the start of the decade, the majority of us (63%) were still restricted to the main five TV channels but, thanks principally to the advent of Freeview, nearly 90% of all UK households now pick up multichannel television.

The revolution in viewing habits has had an adverse affect on viewing figures, however. The days of 25m people tuning in to watch The Generation Game every week are long gone - but occasionally, a sporting event or soap opera cliffhanger will still grip the nation.

Top-rated TV shows of the 2000s

Against most predictions - there was a revival of family viewing on Saturday nights, thanks to the X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and a revitalised (regenerated?) Doctor Who. Reality TV featured heavily in the schedules, with Big Brother inevitably sitting pretty atop Channel 4's top 10 shows of the decade.

The summer stalwart gave us some of the most talked-about TV moments of the decade - from Jade Goody's confusion over "East Angular", to MP George Galloway pretending to be a cat, and the infamous confrontation with "Nasty" Nick Bateman were among the "best bits", to use the show's own peculiar parlance.

Strictly Come Dancing
Strictly Come Dancing attracted 12m people, but failed to make the BBC's top 10 of the decade

Big Brother even produced Britain's first - and so far only - Portuguese transsexual reality show winner, Nadia Almada.

Surprisingly, the decade's other runaway reality series, X Factor, only just nudges its way into ITV's top 10 programmes of the decade, and is beaten by the likes of Britain's Got Talent and Heartbeat.

Strictly Come Dancing, the BBC's Saturday night spandex fest, does even worse, missing out on a top 10 place altogether.

Its high water-mark was in 2008, when 12.97m watched Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup lift the glitter ball trophy.

But memorable moments didn't just come from the "I love blinking, me" stars of reality television.

David Brent's cringeworthy windmill dancing; Michael Jackson's defiant statement that he shared his bed with children, and saw nothing wrong with it; and Noel Edmonds' continuing obsession with boxes provided some of the decade's TV highlights.

Landmark documentaries such as Life and The Blue Planet won plaudits around the world, while factual programming snuck in the entertainment back door with formats like Dragon's Den (economics), Who Do You Think You Are (social history) and Brainiac (physics and blowing up caravans).

Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives won seven Emmys and three Golden Globes

And, although they are largely absent from the most-watched lists, US dramas counted among the most consistently praised productions of the noughties.

From the gritty social commentary and intricate dialogue of The Wire, to the Hollywood production values of 24 and Lost, and the high camp of Desperate Housewives, American broadcasters pushed at the boundaries of storytelling, design and narrative structure.

Brits did well across the pond, with Dominic West taking the lead role in The Wire, Ricky Gervais successfully adapting The Office for US audiences, and Hugh Laurie landing the acerbic lead role in medical drama House - allegedly the most-watched TV programme in the world.

Back at home, the broadcasting landscape was rocked by a series of earthquakes, as the BBC's row over the government "sexing up" the evidence for WMDs in Iraq ushered in five years of scandals, resignations, apologies and fines.

Jade Goody's racist comments on Celebrity Big Brother landed Channel 4 in hot water, while ITV was fined a record £5.675m by Ofcom for abusing premium rate phone services in viewer competitions.

The BBC was also charged £495,000 for falsified phone-ins, and managed to anger the public all over again when it broadcast a crude prank phone call Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross had made to actor Andrew Sachs.

All of this occurred against a backdrop of falling advertising revenues and a lower-than-expected licence fee settlement, leaving a beleaguered industry hoping for a miracle as it entered the new decade.

1. Only Fools And Horses 2001 21.34m
2. Euro 2004, England vs Portugal 2004 20.66m
3. EastEnders - Who Shot Phil Mitchell? 2001 20.05m
4. Euro 2004, Croatia vs England 2004 18.28m
5. World Cup, England vs Ecuador 2006 16.29m
6. World Cup, England vs Portugal 2006 16.21m
7. Wallace & Gromit: A Matter Of Loaf & Death 2008 16.15m
8. Euro 2000, England vs Romania 2000 14.56m
9. Euro 2006, Italy vs France 2006 13.92m
10. Doctor Who Christmas Special 2007 13.31m
Source: BARB

1. Top Gear 2007 8.35m
2. Comic Relief Does Top Of The Pops 2009 7.09m
3. Rome 2005 7.02m
4. Weakest Link Celebrity Special 2000 6.59m
5. Top Gear Of The Pops 2007 6.4m
6. Comic Relief 2003 6.01m
7. The Apprentice: The Final 2006 5.95m
8. Who Do You Think You Are? 2006 5.95m
9. Band Of Brothers 2001 5.91m
10. Louis Theroux: Behind Bars 2008 5.81m
Source: BARB

1. Coronation Street - Richard's confession 2003 19.43m
2. World Cup, England vs Sweden 2006 18.46m
3. Britain's Got Talent: Final Results 2009 18.29m
4. Euro 2004, France vs England 2004 17.80m
5. Tonight Special: Millionaire - Major Fraud 2003 16.10m
6. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire 2000 15.88m
7. The X Factor: Live Final 2009 15.5m*
8. Tonight Special: Michael Jackson 2003 15.32m
9. Heartbeat 2000 15.16m
10. I'm A Celebrity... Live Final 2004 14.99m
Source: BARB
* Overnight figure - likely to rise

1. Big Brother: Live Final 2002 10.1m
2. Friends: The Last One, Part Two 2004 9.64m
3. Celebrity Big Brother: Live Final 2007 8.81m
4. Wife Swap 2003 6.90m
5. Lost 2005 6.75m
6. Bridget Jones's Diary 2004 6.54m
7. Celebrity Wife Swap 2003 6.43m
8. Peter Kay: Britain's Got The Pop Factor 2008 6.26m
9. Jamie's Kitchen 2002 6.25m
10. Supernanny 2001 6.01m
Source: BARB

Only the highest-rated instance of any given programme is included in the top 10. Data for Five was unavailable.

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