The most searched TV shows of 2021 revealed: From 'Emmerdale' to 'Doctor Who'

·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·9-min read
Married At First Sight, Strictly, and Emmerdale all drove a ton of searches in 2021 (Channel 4/BBC/ITV)
Married At First Sight, Strictly, and Emmerdale all drove a ton of searches in 2021 (Channel 4/BBC/ITV)

The most-searched for TV shows on Yahoo in 2021 have been revealed and the list is topped by some of the UK's favourite soaps yet again.

After looking at millions of searches on Yahoo over the course of the last two months, a clear favourite has emerged amongst TV viewers with Emmerdale the most popular show to look up, followed by ITV channel mate Coronation Street.

It's a straight swap from the 2020 data, which saw Coronation Street in first place followed by Emmerdale, but while EastEnders still makes this year's top 10 it has dropped down to seventh place from number three last year.

Read more: The best TV shows of 2021

Reality, entertainment and drama are also included in the top 10 of most-searched TV at Yahoo. Read on for the full list.

Yahoo's most searched for TV shows of 2021

10. Doctor Who (BBC One)

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 22:55:01 on 15/10/2021 - Programme Name: Doctor Who S13 - TX: n/a - Episode: Doctor Who - Generics (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Dan (JOHN BISHOP), The Doctor (JODIE WHITTAKER), Yasmin (MANDIP GILL) - (C) BBC Studios - Photographer: Zoe McConnell
Doctor Who S13 told an overarching story (BBC Studios/Zoe McConnell)

This year was a big one for the BBC sci-fi show, as it marked the third and final season for Doctor number 13, played by Jodie Whittaker.

She is the first ever female star to have played the Time Lord and although there are still a couple of specials left that will feature her incarnation (including the much-anticipated New Year's Day episode), it's now time to look ahead to who number 14 will be.

Names touted include Olly Alexander of the band Years & Years who enjoyed a starring role in AIDS drama It's A Sin, written by Russell T. Davies - who coincidentally is about to return to Doctor Who as showrunner.

The final season written by Chris Chibnall was a six-part story, Flux, which featured classic monsters including the Weeping Angels.

9. Married At First Sight (E4)

Pictured: (L-R) Alexis, Jordon, Adam, Tayah (bottom row), Morag, Luke, Robert, Joshua, Megan (bottom row), Amy, Franky, Daniel, Marilyse, Matt, Ant and Nikita.
Pictured: (L-R) Alexis, Jordon, Adam, Tayah (bottom row), Morag, Luke, Robert, Joshua, Megan (bottom row), Amy, Franky, Daniel, Marilyse, Matt, Ant and Nikita.

One of the breakout TV hits of lockdown number two in early 2021 was Married At First Sight Australia, an epically long reality series airing on E4.

It brought us cheating scandals, a row that took place whilst wearing pampering face masks and even one actual love story as couples were matched for the first time at the altar.

Read more: TV's most controversial moments of 2021

The series was such a hit that it also sparked the overhaul of the usually much more serious UK version, glamming things up with regular dinner parties that showcased former Take Me Out star Morag, unlucky-in-love viewer favourite Bob, and a rather worrying dynamic between Marilyse and Franky.

Rounding out the year on E4 was the latest Aussie series which was as full of drama as ever, thanks in large part to just one groom: Bryce.

It's reality TV at both its best and worst - full of hugely uncomfortable moments that are impossible to turn away from.

8. Dancing On Ice (ITV)

Editorial use only

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Frost/ITV/Shutterstock (11795927gy)

Sonny Jay and Angela Egan celebrate being crowned Dancing on Ice champions 2021 by Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield

'Dancing On Ice' TV show, Series 13, Episode 8, Final, Hertfordshire, UK - 14 Mar 2021
Sonny Jay and Angela Egan celebrate being crowned Dancing on Ice champions 2021 by Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield (Matt Frost/ITV/Shutterstock)

Hailed as a disaster series for its huge numbers of illnesses and injuries, Dancing On Ice was hard hit by controversy and chaos this year.

It saw five of the original celebrity line-up drop out - Denise Van Outen, Billie Shepherd and Jason Donovan through injury, and Rufus Hound and Joe-Warren Plant after positive COVID tests.

Read more: TV shows that ended in 2021

The show got through both of its reserves for the first time, before eventually being forced off air for a week mid-series and then bringing the final forward, which by then was down to a process of elimination for who was left standing.

With the 2022 series due to start in early January, ITV bosses will be keeping their fingers crossed for an easier ride this time around, although John Barrowman has already exited as judge following a historic sexual harassment scandal from his acting days.

7. EastEnders (BBC One)

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 04/12/2021 - Programme Name: EastEnders - Portraits 2021 - TX: 25/12/2021 - Episode: EastEnders - Christmas Iconic - Whitney, Chelsea and Gray (No. 6401-6402) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED TILL SATURDAY 4TH DECEMBER 2021*** Whitney Dean (SHONA MCGARTY), Chelsea Fox (ZARAAH ABRAHAMS), Gray Atkins (TOBY-ALEXANDER SMITH) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes
Gray has been hiding a dark secret in 2021 (BBC/Jack Barnes)

It's been a little quieter in Albert Square than in previous years, but one big storyline has continued to draw in the viewers.

The soap's latest killer is Gray (Toby-Alexander Smith) who has proved a terrifying presence in Whitney's (Shona McGarty) life.

His biggest moment came when he decided to kill off Kush (Davood Ghadami) in a fit of jealousy, pushing him under a Tube train and appearing to get away with it, although he's tipped for more trouble at Christmas.

6. MasterChef (BBC One)

Programme Name: Masterchef: The Professionals S14 - TX: 08/11/2021 - Episode: Masterchef: The Professionals S14 - Heat 2 (No. Heat 2) - Picture Shows:  Marcus Wareing, Gregg Wallace, Monica Galetti - (C) Shine TV - Photographer: Screengrab
Masterchef: The Professionals team Marcus Wareing, Gregg Wallace, Monica Galetti (Shine TV)

TV's toughest cooking contest is always a hit, but in a year where many of us were stuck at home and trying to learn new kitchen skills, it was especially relevant.

In fact, this year's winner Tom Rhodes perfected his cooking skills during the first lockdown, giving inspiration to viewers.

He was followed by Paralympian Kadeena Cox winning the celebrity version, and the year ended with Professionals champion Dan Lee showcasing some impossibly perfect dishes.

5. Love Island (ITV2)

Pictured: Sharon Gaffka, Hugo Hammond, Chloe Burrows, Shannon Singh, Kaz Kamwi, Brad McClelland, Faye Winter, Aaron Francis, Toby Aromolaran, Liberty Poole and Jake Cornish. (ITV)
Pictured: Sharon Gaffka, Hugo Hammond, Chloe Burrows, Shannon Singh, Kaz Kamwi, Brad McClelland, Faye Winter, Aaron Francis, Toby Aromolaran, Liberty Poole and Jake Cornish. (ITV)

Dating series giant Love Island is always an eagerly-awaited series, but particularly this year after the summer 2020 show was unable to go ahead.

It's never a stranger to rows and controversy, but this summer's series became the most complained about in the show's history, thanks in large part to Faye Winter shouting at partner Teddy Soares.

The eventual winners were Millie Court and Liam Reardon, who got back together after a brief split over his behaviour at Casa Amor.

4. Strictly Come Dancing (BBC One)

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 18/12/2021 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: ++LIVE SHOW++ Rose Ayling-Ellis, Giovanni Pernice - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
Strictly Come Dancing 2021 was won by Rose Ayling-Ellis, Giovanni Pernice (BBC/Guy Levy)

Celebrity dance contest Strictly is a regular highlight of the TV calendar and this year's contest was particularly searched for thanks to the most talented line-up ever.

The cast was packed with contestants who would have easily won in any other year and the final was praised as the most diverse ever as it saw John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, the show's first all-male couple, go up against the first deaf contestant Rose Ayling-Ellis and her partner Giovanni Pernice.

Read more: The best moments of Strictly 2021

Unfortunately third finalists AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington had to drop out the day before the final after Odudu injured her ankle, describing missing out on the last show as being "like a broken heart".

Eventual winner Ayling-Ellis will be remembered for what Anton Du Beke called the greatest ever moment on Strictly as she performed a silent dance to express what dancing was like for her.

3. Line Of Duty (BBC One)

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 20/04/2021 - Programme Name: Line of Duty S6 - TX: 25/04/2021 - Episode: Line Of Duty - Ep 6 (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: *NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01HRS, TUESDAY 20TH APRIL, 2021* Superintendent Ted Hastings (ADRIAN DUNBAR), Carmichael (ANNA MAXWELL MARTIN), DI Steve Arnott (MARTIN COMPSTON), DC Chloe Bishop (SHALOM BRUNE-FRANKLIN) - (C) World Productions - Photographer: Steffan Hill
Line of Duty was the most-watched show on BBC iPlayer in 2021 (World Productions)

Every series of Line Of Duty that arrives seems to become more of a cult hit and excitement reached fever pitch for the 2021 series as fans became convinced they would finally discover the identity of H.

They sort of did...and sort of didn't, as some viewers complained about a disappointing ending while others thought Patricia Carmichael's (Anna Maxwell Martin) villainous nature being revealed and the incompetent detective Buckells turning out to have been behind much of the OCG's work was a perfect comment on the state of society.

Read more: The most exciting TV shows coming up in 2022

Either way, one thing's for sure - we're still hoping Vicky McClure, Martin Compston and Adrian Dunbar will be back as Kate, Steve and the gaffer for a series seven.

2. Coronation Street (ITV)

Nina Lucas and Seb Franklin are set to be attacked on Coronation Street. (ITV/Danielle Baguley)
Nina Lucas and Seb Franklin are set to be attacked on Coronation Street. (ITV/Danielle Baguley)

Corrie has confirmed it will be a happy Christmas in Weatherfield as the characters are set to enjoy a festive sing-song in an un-soapy cheerful episode.

It's been hard-earned, though, as much tragedy has struck the cobbles this year, including long-running character Norris's (Malcolm Hebden) death and gang boss Harvey (Will Mellor) breaking out of a prison van.

The most memorable storyline of the year was the harrowing murder of Seb (Harry Visinoni) who was killed by Corey (Maximus Evans) and his gang who had attacked him and goth girlfriend Nina (Mollie Gallagher) in an incident inspired by the real-life killing of Sophie Lancaster.

Corey's trial outraged viewers as he appeared to get away with murder, but he later got his comeuppance and was sent to jail.

The soap also found time to fit in a giant sinkhole storyline that sent Johnny (Ryan Hawley) to his death in the Victorian sewers.

1. Emmerdale (ITV)


FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO
Print media - No Use Before Tuesday Tuesday 12th October 2021
Online Media - No Use Before 0700hrs  Tuesday 12th October 2021

Emmerdale - 9182

Tuesday 19th October 2021

Meena Jutla [PAIGE SANDHU] holds Victoria’s lifeless body under the water, but someone’s watching from afar. Wanting to find out just what they’ve seen, Meena follows them into the maze. With only one thing on her mind, Meena’s ready to kill should anyone get in her way…There’s no way out...

This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on  www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/terms
FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO
Print media - No Use Before Tuesday Tuesday 12th October 2021
Online Media - No Use Before 0700hrs  Tuesday 12th October 2021

Emmerdale - 9181

Monday 18th October 2021

The survival challenge begins with cries of enthusiasm. As the survivalists jump into their rafts and set off down the river, Billy and Ben try to rally their respective team members.





Picture contact David.crook@itv.com 

This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on  www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/terms
Meena's reign of terror ruled over Emmerdale in 2021 (ITV)

It's been a rough old year in the Dales - serial killers, bridge collapses and a truck ploughing into a wedding.

Abusive groom Paul was killed off at his own nuptials when a truck hit the wedding barn and ignited a gas canister.

Read more: Soap's biggest storylines of 2021

But that didn't even come close to being the most shocking thing that happened in the village, as an outdoor pursuits day that went wrong ended in a bridge collapse that left David and Victoria hanging by their fingertips from the bridge wreckage.

The biggest storyline of the year has without a doubt been psychopathic Meena's (Paige Sandhu) killing spree as her victims have dropped like flies around her.

Will she finally be caught out as the year ends?

Watch the latest Emmerdale spoilers

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