StoryScout 2024

Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

UK Viewing Snapshot: The Highest-rated Program for 40+ Networks

Continuing our snapshot of UK unscripted viewing, following is a list that captures the highest-rated program for each of the major terrestrial broadcasters and their digital brands.

The data conveys the scale of viewing for the genre and highlights the major players.

And in the next table, the spotlight falls on the vast gulf between UK broadcasters and the multichannels.


  • The two legacy BARB categories for unscripted are “Documentary” and “Hobbies & Lifestyle.”
  • Viewers are in thousands.
  • I selected a broad sample of channels.


  • The data is fascinating.
  • But there’s a limit to the lessons that can be drawn from it, particularly on a hot summer day in New York
  • The broadcasters and multichannels are subject to different business models, cost structures, regulatory remits that govern repeat rates, and much more.

“Documentary” Category


BBC 1Countryfile7,71413.2
ITVThe Mafia4,7228.1
C5Celebrity Big Brother3,7096.4
BBC 2Billionaire’s Paradise3,2665.6
E4Made In Chelsea1,2092.1
BBC 4Life of a Mountain9511.6
BBC 3Bangkok Airport9061.6
ITV2Hell’s Kitchen7111.2
SKY1Ross Kemp: Extreme World6841.2
ITV3P. O’grady: Love Dogs6531.1
More4Building The Dream5030.9

Hobbies & Lifestyle Category

BBC 1Masterchef6,95211.9
BBC 2Top Gear6,92111.9
C4Married At First Sight2,7434.7
ITVLove Your Garden2,7344.7
C5The Classic Car Show7581.3
BBC 4Great Irish Journeys5881.0
MORE4Selling Houses5641.0
DAVEStorage Hunters5090.9
QUESTSalvage Hunters5020.9
ITV4Shed & Buried3530.6
YESTERDAYThe Joy of Train Sets3370.6
DISCOVERYFast N’ Loud3330.6
REALLYA Place In The Sun2640.5
PICK60 Minute Makeover1790.3
BBC 3Snog Marry Avoid?1640.3
TLCSay Yes To The Dress1390.2
WATCHHeston’s Fantastical Food1290.2
GOOD FOODMasterchef: Final 3980.2
FOODMan v Food Nation970.2
SKY LIVINGMotorway Patrol950.2
HOMEMake My Home Bigger880.2
TRAVELPalin’s Pole to Pole850.1
DMAXTreehouse Masters760.1
4SEVENMini Cooper: Love Cars730.1
ITVBE60 Min Makeover700.1
DISC TURBOCar Fix 3610.1
EDENAngry Planet580.1
DISC  HOMEHomes Under Hammer520.1
DRAMAJust Friends520.1
SKY ATLANTICThe Petrol Age500.1
DISC. SHEDRecord Breaking Fish430.1
ITV3World Kitchen430.1
PBS AMERICAUnbelievable Flying Objects350.1
NDTV 24X7Will Travel For Food340.1
LIFETIMEMy Dream Home330.1
REAL LIVESDownsize Me330.1
ANML PLANETMy Tiny Terror320.1
LONDON LIVETen Years Younger300.1
NAT GEOBorn To Ride300.1
DISC HISTORYAuction Kings280.0
AFRICACooking With Siba270.0
S4CStraeon Tafarn260.0
ABN TVMotorweek250.0