The pointlessness of TV Polls

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With ITV's Top fifty shows being representative of nothing in particular we ask .... what is the point of these "Top XXX Shows"?

ITV recently presented us with a programme claiming to countdown its Top Fifty shows to mark its fiftieth anniversary.  Its a fairly standard idea nowadays, but what rankled was that the top fifty shows had already been chosen by ITV themselves, and all we, as the viewing public, could do was put them in an order. This fact was not really disclosed by ITV on their poll (naughty, naughty!)but Yahoo revealed that "The broadcaster has compiled a shortlist of its 50 greatest shows." We don't know why this choice of 50 shows was made by ITV - was it due to copyright? Was it because of what was available in its archive? Was it based on which actors/actresses/presenters were available to talk about their shows?  We will probably never know.

The Fifty shows that were listed for us to choose from are given below, together with the final order the public chose.

1 Coronation Street

2 Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

3 A Touch of Frost

4 Inspector Morse

5 Emmerdale

6 I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

7 The Bill

8 The Muppet Show

9 Pop Idol

10 Spitting Image

11 Cold Feet

12 Cracker

13 This Morning

14 Footballers’ Wives

15 Minder

16 Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

17 The Avengers

18 Prime Suspect

19 The Sweeney

20 Tiswas

21 Rising Damp

22 Stars In Their Eyes

23 Upstairs Downstairs

24 Hillsborough

25 The Kenny Everett Show

26 An Audience With…

27 The Darling Buds of May

28 The World At War

29 The Naked Civil Servant

30 The Prisoner

31 7 Up

32 World In Action

33 The Benny Hill Show

34 Brideshead Revisited

35 Blind Date

36 Jimmys

37 Sunday Night at the Palladium

38 Heartbeat

39 Survival

40 Death On The Rock

41 Ready, Steady, Go!

42 The South Bank Show

43 This Is Your Life

44 Candid Camera

45 Tonight With Trevor McDonald

46 The Jewel In The Crown

47 Whicker’s World

48 Opportunity Knocks

49 It’ll Be Alright On The Night

50 Family Fortunes

When you look at the top ten, you can immediately see that 7 of the Top Ten are (I think) still in production.  Is this a fair representation of ITV's output.  I don't think so.  Are ITV actually trying to say that they are producing their best shows now? If they are, then they are hugely misguided.

When they listed the Top 50 to chose from ITV should really have picked 10 shows from each decade. This could have been based on viewing figures, or critical acclaim, or on the choice of a chosen panel, but whichever route they chose should really have been disclosed.  In fact it would have been better to have listed a Top 100 and then allowed the public to whittle it down to Top 50.

Take a look again at their Top 50, and think about which ITV shows you like/liked that are not included and just see how unrepresentative it is. 

Perhaps more importantly is this Top Fifty show an obituary for ITV, rather like the Best Of CD's that are often released upon a band's demise?

I've concentrated on the ITV Top fifty poll here, but Channel Four and Five also like churning these type of Top Ten shows out - have you ever voted on their Top Ten?  Have you ever heard of a request to vote in these type of shows? How representative can these shows be ?

Page Last Updated Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 20:46:53