It is perhaps unique to the UK that a programme showing a dog rounding up sheep could be one of the most popular TV programmes in the 1980’s. In the late 70’s and early 80’s The Sheep dog trials, as part of “One man and his Dog” attracted over 8 million viewers – every week (!).
I remember watching it on Sundays, when school was looming the next day. Eating tea, and the dull voiced commentary happening – a lot like cricket commentary to my young ears – telling you about one dog and it’s owner “this is Shep, Shep is 3 years old and has been bred by William Mantell as a companion to his other sheep dog…” etc etc. I remembered it recently, and had to look it up to make sure it was a real memory. Yes, this was a weekly show in the 80's! Wow!
The show started in 1976 and was presented by Phil Drabble with commentary by Eric Halsall, and later by Ray Ollerenshaw, Robin Page, and Gus Dermody. Amazingly – and I had no idea of this but the last series aired as recently as 2000! But there are still Christmas specials, which continue to this day.
Amazing. Though saying that the popularity of other reality TV programmes of recent years also defy my idea of what can be a popular TV programme.