This week saw the release of one of those lists that’s superficially interesting but largely pointless. I like stuff like that.

This piece of pointlessness was about the 20 most watched television shows in the UK. Why they bothered to find this out is anybody’s guess, really. Any road up, if we look at the top ten, only three of them fall into this century, and that holds true for the entire pack of twenty. Seven in this century, and those were all in the noughties. The big hitters come from the 1900s. sounds a long time ago, yes?

Predictably the Daily Mail, my favourite rag as you know, went all harrumphy about declining standards in television programmes, shocking reliance on cheap reality shows. You know what the Mail is like, because I’ve told you often enough.

Of course, the paper, in its usual fashion, failed to think things through. Six of the top ten dated from 1980 or before. So what? Here’s so what. Way back in the Dark Ages, in the UK there were only three television channels, and all those were terrestrial. Channel 4 didn’t raise it’s mildly smutty head until 1982. Hence there was not a lot of choice, was there?

Numbers 3 and 5 were broadcasts of the Royal Variety Performance from the 1960s. Back then this was a big deal, because a/ we were still pretty staunch royalists as a nation, and b/ the other channels knew they were on a hiding to nothing and simply showed whatever crap they had in the back of the cupboard. Simple market forces.

Now, with the advent of cable and satellite, we have hundreds of channels to watch, so you’re never going to get those big figures again. If I’m watching a documentary about that idiot climbing the Matterhorn wearing rollerskates, I’m not watching The Great British Bakeoff, or Ed Balls lumbering about on Strictly Come Dancing.

As for the choice we have available now, this has come with its own problems. I mentioned a while back the fact you can now record 1000 hours of programming, and pointed out that you’d never have to time to watch all that.

According to some frankly unbelievable research, US viewers now spend 45% more time choosing what to watch. I’m not sure what that extra 45% is based on, but there ya go, can’t have everything. But here’s the bit I don’t believe. According to the researchers (Danger Will Robinson! Danger!) people in the US will spend a total one year and four months of their lives trying to decide what to watch.

I think that Ericsson ConsumerLab are either on drugs or having a larf. Or both.