‘Big Brother’ Propels Channel 4 to First-Ever UK Ratings Victory

31 July 2002

Trash television – to which Britain's second and junior state-owned broadcaster Channel 4 is no stranger – lifted the hitherto ‘minority interest’ channel to the top of the UK ratings for the first time in its nineteen-year history.

Described by one critic as a “human zoo”, Friday’s final moments of the live fly-on-the-wall docusoap Big Brother peaked at 9.9 million viewers (50.1% of the available audience) which – although far distant from a UK record – was enough to put C4 ahead of rivals BBC1 and ITV for the first time ever. Overall audience share for the day was 22.6%, compared to 21.1% for BBC1 and 20.2%.

Said an ecstatic Channel 4 spokeswoman: “We are obviously delighted by this news. Big Brother has done it again. It managed to keep the nation hooked right until the final moment.”

Data sourced from: Independent.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff