Big Brother tops Internet search chart

Audiences have fallen and its days are numbered but Big Brother was the UK's most popular Yahoo! internet search of 2009, figures showed today.

It finished ahead of TV talent show The X Factor and even the death of Michael Jackson in the round-up of terms on the search engine.

Reflecting the state of the economy, the words "job centre" figured in third place in the study, the first time it has figured near the top of the list. Another sign-of-the-times inclusion was "swine flu" which was placed seventh in the list.

The surprise demise of Jackson - who died in June, shortly before a run of London shows - topped the list for the top 10 news and celebrity searches.

Big Brother saw its viewing figures dip this year and Channel 4 announced it was pulling the plug on the show after a final series to be screened next year, but it continued to be hugely popular with web users.

And one of the figures who found fame on the show, Jade Goody, landed at fifth position in the top 10 searches of the year.

The star, who died earlier this year after battling cancer, was also the third most popular news search and second most popular celebrity search.

Yahoo! looks back at the year and its most popular searches at

As well as finishing second in the overall searches of the year, The X Factor also found one of its judges Cheryl Cole in the top ten. The erstwhile Girls Aloud star finished in ninth position.

Richard Evans, UK news editor at Yahoo!, said: "While our 2008 top searches were almost exclusively focused on celebrity, there does seem to have been a subtle shift with our Year in Review in 2009 as the reality of events of the last year has set in.

"No matter how much people wanted to escape from bad news with celebrity news, the recession was everywhere and often very close to home - hence why 'job centre' leapt into top searches at number three."

Yahoo!'s Top 10 Searches 2009

1. Big Brother

2. X Factor

3. Job centre

4. Michael Jackson

5. Jade Goody

6. Premier League

7. Swine Flu

8. Katie Price

9. Cheryl Cole

10. Train Times

Yahoo!'s Top 10 News Searches 2009

1. Michael Jackson

2. Barack Obama

3. Jade Goody

4. Jordan & Peter

5. Madeleine McCann

6. Water on the moon

7. Swine flu

8. The Oscars

9. G20

10. Baby P

Yahoo!'s Top 10 Celebrity Searches 2009

1. Michael Jackson

2. Jade Goody

3. Katie Price

4. Cheryl Cole

5. Patrick Swayze

6. Lady GaGa

7. Susan Boyle

8. Lily Allen

9. Oasis

10. Megan Fox