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Harry and Meghan make top 5 as Ireland's most-watched TV broadcasts of 2021 are revealed

The Toy Show was once again the most-watched programme of the year.

File image of the Oprah Winfrey interview with Harry and Meghan.
File image of the Oprah Winfrey interview with Harry and Meghan.
Image: PA

LIVE SPORT MADE up seven of the top 10 most-watched Irish TV broadcasts last year, but the Toy Show still reigned supreme in the viewership stakes. 

The other non-sport shows in the top 10 were the Six One News on 5 January 2021, when it was decided that schools would remain closed, and the recorded broadcast of the interview between Oprah Winfrey and British royals Harry and Meghan

The interview with Harry and Meghan was fifth in the list, bringing in 836,5000 live viewers, ahead of sporting events including the All Ireland hurling final and all of Ireland’s Six Nations rugby matches. 

The most-watched sporting event was the All Ireland Football final between Tyrone and Mayo, which was second in the list ahead of England’s Euro 2020 final and semi-final. 

Several other big Euro 2020 games make the list, with Ireland’s football qualifiers against Portugal in September and November the highest rated broadcasts for the national team, in 16th and 27th place.  

However, no broadcast from last year’s Olympics in Tokyo feature in the list despite gold medals for Irish boxer Kellie Harrington, and rowers Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy. 

The list of Ireland’s most-watched shows of 2021 demonstrates the increasing dominance of live events for broadcast TV, as people continue to look to streaming services for non-live TV. 

top 50 Source: RTE

(Click here for larger image

The most-watched scripted show in the top 50 was the pilot episode of RTÉ crime drama Kin, which comes in in 15th place. Kin does not feature again in the top 50.  

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Of the top 50 shows, 44 were broadcast by RTÉ with six by Virgin Media. The six on Virgin Media were Ireland’s Six Nations matches and an episode of I’m a Celebrity….Get Me Out Of Here! 

PastedImage-62932 Source: RTÉ

To demonstrate this effect, RTÉ has also released the top 25 shows on the RTÉ Player last year, with Australian soap Home and Away the most popular programme on the State’s streaming service ahead of EasterEnders in second and Fair City in third. 

Love/Hate, which last aired a new episode in 2014, remained in the top 10 of the most streamed shows on the RTÉ Player in 2021. 

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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