Viewers 'would not give up TV for pounds 1m'

LARGE sums of money would not prise people away from their television sets, according to a poll published today, writes David Nicholson-Lord.

Even if they were offered pounds 1m, 15 per cent of people would refuse to give up television.

The British are also curiously schizophrenic about their soap operas, according to the survey, commissioned by Radio Times from NOP. They may watch EastEnders in their millions but few of them fancy the inner-urban living that goes with it.

Asked which soap opera settings they would like to inhabit, most people chose the sea-fringed suburbia of Home and Away and the dales and moors of Emmerdale Farm. Brookside, another urban drama, shares bottom place with EastEnders.

Television dependence is apparently deep-rooted. Two-thirds of people would not give it up for pounds 10,000 and a third were not tempted by pounds 100,000. However, only 19 per cent of people are watching more television than a year ago, against 35 per cent who say they are watching less.

ITN's use of Trevor McDonald as the anchorman on News At 10 is apparently well-founded: many viewers see him as Prime Ministerial material. Mr McDonald heads the list of television personalities people would most like to see in the Cabinet: he is followed by Michael Buerk, Alan B'Stard, Bob Geldof and Julia Somerville. Mr B'Stard is fictional.