Soap cleans up in battle of TV shows

The long-running soap, now in its 45th year, beat off younger ratings winners to top a list of 50 programmes in a poll of half a million viewers.

Ant and Dec showed they were worthy of their multi-million-pound golden handcuffs deal with ITV as they secured three programmes in the top 10.

Their Saturday Night Takeaway series was the runner-upwhile I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! and Pop Idol also scored high. But police dramas proved they are an enduring hit among audiences with A Touch of Frost, Inspector Morse and The Bill making the running.

Bill Roache, who has played Ken Barlow since Coronation Street began more than 6,000 episodes ago, hailed his programme's success.

"It is amazing really, it has been going for 44 years and it is still at the top. It is amazing how it has kept its heart but it is a living organism and it has adjusted and grown quite brilliantly," he said.

The show has regained its position as Britain's highest rating soap after a concerted challenge from BBC1's EastEnders.

ITV'S TOP 10

1 Coronation Street

2 Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway

3 A Touch of Frost

4 Inspector Morse

5 Emmerdale

6 I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

7 The Bill

8 The Muppet Show

9 Pop Idol

10 Spitting Image

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