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Viewing Figures are the number of viewers or households watching a television programme at any given time. Such figures are vital to commercial organisations such as ITV as they are the basis on which they charge other companies for advertisement slots although they are just as important to the BBC in that high audience figures remain an important political argument for the justification and continuation of the licence fee system.

Background[]

Today all UK audience figures are based on readings from meters fixed to a sample set of televisions across the country and the information they collate being published to show a television chart ranking. This process is overseen by BARB (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) who were set up jointly by the BBC and the then ITV group of companies and began operating on 1st August 1981. Before this, the BBC conducted its audience research while the separate ITV companies sub-contracted out the task to other organisations, in the main TAM (Total Audience Measurement) and AC Neilson. With the change to the ITV network in 1968, when stations such as Associated Rediffusion were dropped and new stations such as Thames Television and London Weekend Television began, the independent stations and other interested parties (acting under the name of JICTAR, the Joint Industry Committee for Television Advertising Research, formed in the early 1960s) passed the contract for collating the data passed to AGB, today AGB Neilson, who still to this day collate the data for the entire UK industry on BARB's behalf.

It should be noted that before the establishment of BARB, not only did BBC and ITV collect audience data separately but they collected and collated it using different methods. The BBC did not use meter readings but instead used audience questionnaires based on the memory of the sample they chose. They then published their data as millions of viewers. TAM/AGB used meter readings and published the data as millions of homes viewing. This latter measurement method changed on 1st August 1977 and the generally accepted conversion ratio is 2.2 viewers to one home (BFI). Therefore the first episode of Emmerdale was watched by 2,203,000 households which equates to 4,846,600 people.

As of the week of 27th August 2018, BARB introduced "four-screen viewing" which gave combined figures for TV, pc/laptop, tablet and smartphone. This change, made to reflect modern technologies, resulted in overall figures that were not as "rounded up" as in the past but in the case of the latter three methods of viewing, were far more precise.

Emmerdale's history in the charts[]

An average Emmerdale episode generally attracts an average of 4.1 million viewers.

When then called Emmerdale Farm began it started off as just a regional programme. The first episode was watched by 2.2 million but by early 1973 other regions like Anglia and London were screening the show. Viewing figures by then were around 3 to 4 million. By 1977 the viewing figures had risen to around 10 million and the show was proving to be quite popular. In March 1978 Emmerdale Farm appeared for the first time in the Top 15 ITV rating programmes at 14th place with over 15 million viewers, its highest figures ever at the time. In 1979 Emmerdale Farm appeared regularly in the Top 15 most-watched ITV episodes ranging from 11.1 million to 14.7 million. On 22nd May 1979, Emmerdale Farm reached 8th place in the rating with 12.4 million viewers.

During the 1990s, the series had an average of 10-11 million viewers per episode. Some notable episodes and storylines have seen the viewing figures soar since then has been:

  • On 19th January 1999, Kim Tate's departure from the show on was watched by nearly 15 million viewers.
  • On 1st March 2005Emmerdale attracted 10.08 million viewers when Charity Tate left the village after ruining Jimmy King's 40th birthday by playing a tape which confirms their affair and revealing his wife Sadie's lies to she stop Charity's wedding to Tom King.
  • On 8th October 2018, the much-awaited return of Kim Tate's attracted 6.8 million viewers.

Christmas[]

Christmas ratings[]

  • 1998: 11,100,000 viewers
  • 1999: 11,670,000 viewers
  • 2000: 8,760,000 viewers (Part I) & 9,900,000 viewers (Part II)
  • 2001: 9,440,000 viewers
  • 2002: 10,930,000 viewers
  • 2003: 8,740,000 viewers
  • 2004: 7,765,000 viewers
  • 2005: 6,240,000 viewers
  • 2006: 7,690,000 viewers
  • 2007: 6,190,000 viewers
  • 2008: 5,060,000 viewers
  • 2009: 5,620,000 viewers
  • 2010: 7,780,000 viewers
  • 2011: 6,730,000 viewers
  • 2012: 5,070,000 viewers (Part I) & 6,330,000 viewers (Part II)
  • 2013: 5,970,000 viewers
  • 2014: 5,640,000 viewers
  • 2015: 4,210,000 viewers
  • 2016: 5,670,000 viewers
  • 2017: 5,120,000 viewers
  • 2018: 5,533,120 viewers
  • 2019: 5,745,106 viewers
  • 2020: 4,914,790 viewers
  • 2021: 4,809,000 viewers
  • 2022: 3,898,000 viewers
  • 2023: 3,310,000 viewers

Text Santa[]

  • 2012: 4,820,000 viewers
  • 2013: 4,410,000 viewers
  • 2014: 3,860,000 viewers
  • 2015: 3,230,000 viewers

Annual rankings[]

Episodes as "Millions of Viewers"[]

Year No. of eps Highest number of viewers Lowest number of viewers Average number of viewers No. of top 10 eps
1998 (from 30th June) 162 (85 viewing figures available) Episode 2432 (20th October 1998)
(13,910,000*)
Episode 2419 (18th September 1998)
(9,530,000)
11,270,000 34
1999 164 Episode 2473 (19th January 1999)
(14,970,000*)
Episode 2547 (8th July 1999)
(8,800,000)
11,280,000 62
2000 187 Episode 2669 (22nd March 2000)
(13,250,000)
Episode 2692 (12th May 2000)
(8,250,000*)
10,690,000 78
2001 257 Episode 2822 (3rd January 2001)
(12,420,000)
Episode 2864 (1st March 2001)
(7,160,000)
9,710,000 56
2002 254 Episode 3340 (27th December 2002)
(11,790,000)
Episode 3208 (25th June 2002)/Episode 3210 (27th June 2002)
(6,970,000)
9,210,000 53
2003 266 Episode 3371/3372 (10th February 2003)
(11,880,000)
Episode 3449 (26th May 2003)
(5,940,000)
9,240,000 37
2004 308 Episode 3625 (2nd January 2004)
(11,760,000)
Episode 3806 (1st August 2004)
(5,708,000)
9,000,000 41
2005 304 Episode 3981 (21st February 2005)
(11,180,000)
Episode 4095 (10th July 2005)
(5,661,000)
8,630,000 55
2006 303 Episode 4308 (13th March 2006)
(9,860,000)
Episode 4402 (5th July 2006)
(3,380,000)
7,630,000 22
2007 297 Episode 4566 (8th January 2007)
(9,380,000)
Episode 4717 (1st July 2007)
(4,840,000)
7,440,000 25
2008 262 Episode 4876 (2nd January 2008)
(8,850,000)
Episode 4993 (22nd May 2008)
(4,570,000)
6,930,000 17
2009 281 Episode 5211 (2nd February 2009)
(8,540,000)
Episode 5306 (27th May 2009)
(4,500,000)
6,720,000 9
2010 298 Episode 5506 (14th January 2010)
(9,960,000)
Episode 5650 (8th July 2010)
(4,600,000)
7,340,000 11
2011 307 Episode 5817 (13th January 2011)
(9,150,000)
Episode 5966 (7th July 2011)
(4,200,000)
7,100,000 11
2012 310 Episode 6371/6372 (17th October 2012)
(8,830,000)
Episode 6262 (15th June 2012)
(4,010,000)
6,670,000 9
2013 298 Episode 6686/6687 (16th October 2013)
(8,150,000)
Episode 6569/6570 (4th June 2013)
(4,660,000)
6,570,000 8
2014 295 Episode 6776 (27th January 2014)
(7,180,000)
Episode 6940 (7th August 2014)
(3,820,000)
5,740,000 4
2015 291 Episode 7254 (5th August 2015)
(6,530,000)
Episode 7226 (3rd July 2015)
(4,040,000)
5,410,000 3
2016 308 Episode 7647 (20th October 2016)/Episode 7648 (21st October 2016)
(8,030,000)
Episode 7495 (5th May 2016)
(4,520,000)
6,010,000 16
2017 302 Episode 7712 (3rd January 2017)/Episode 7714/7715 (5th January 2017)
(7,540,000)
Episode 7925 (1st September 2017)
(5,100,000)
6,440,000 40
2018 299 Episode 8045 (17th January 2018)
(7,720,000)
Episode 8196 (6th July 2018)
(4,980,000)
6,450,000 66
2019 322 Episode 8378 (28th January 2019)
(7,025,262)
Episode 8598 (19th September 2019)
(4,751,000)
6,050,000 70
2020 236 Episode 8709 (20th January 2020)
(6,943,432)
Episode 8800F (24th June 2020)
(4,479,611)
5,880,000 71
2021 297 Episode 8933 (4th January 2021)
(5,943,918)
Episode 9085 (29th June 2021)
(3,657,000)
4,900,000 31
2022 261 Episode 9291 (18th February 2022)
(5,686,000)
Episode 9469 (18th September 2022)
(<2,972,000)
4,560,000 58
2023 258 Episode 9576 (16th January 2023)
(4,780,000)
Episode 9870 (25th December 2023)
(3,310,000)
4,100,000 63

Most and Least-Watched Episodes[]

Most-Watched Episodes[]

From Episode 2382 (30th June 1998) onwards, the 10 most-watched episodes of Emmerdale are:

Rank Episode Viewing Figures
1 Episode 2473 (19th January 1999) 14,970,000*
2 Episode 2470 (12th January 1999) 13,920,000*
3 Episode 2432 (20th October 1998) 13,910,000*
4 Episode 2464 (29th December 1998) 13,480,000*
5 Episode 2474 (20th January 1999) 13,350,000
6 Episode 2669 (22nd March 2000) 13,250,000
7 Episode 2447 (24th November 1998) 13,240,000*
8 Episode 2639 (19th January 2000) 13,210,000
9 Episode 2438 (3rd November 1998) 13,200,000*
10 Episode 2655 (22nd February 2000) 13,190,000*

Least-Watched Episodes[]

From Episode 2382 (30th June 1998) onwards, the 10 least-watched episodes of Emmerdale are:

Rank Episode Viewing Figures
1 Episode 9469 (18th September 2022) <2,972,000
2 Episode 9461/9462 (11th September 2022) 3,195,000
3 Episode 9870 (25th December 2023) 3,310,000
4 Episode 9463 (13th September 2022) 3,336,000
5 Episode 9790 (22nd September 2023) 3,356,000
6 Episode 9796 (29th September 2023) 3,372,000
7 Episode 4402 (5th July 2006) 3,380,000
8 Episode 9774/9775 (5th September 2023) 3,506,000
9 Episode 4400 (30th June 2006) 3,550,000
10 Episode 9533/9534 (29th November 2022) 3,584,000

Viewing figures for related broadcasts[]

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