Daniel and Majella's road trip helps clock up 20pc share of the ratings for UTV Ireland
TV show Daniel and Majella's B&B Road Trip was the surprise hit of the year for new station UTV Ireland, coming in fourth in the broadcaster's top 20 shows for 2015.
The six-part series, documenting the Donegal crooner and his wife's travel around Ireland visiting bed-and-breakfasts in unusual locations, beat top-billed shows like The Brit Awards 2015 and Pat Kenny In The Round. It clocked up 335,100 viewers on average, a 20pc share of the Irish television market on Monday night.
The show was aired sandwiched between the channel's two flagship soaps, which undoubtedly helped numbers. Station bosses are hopeful that the O'Donnells will be back for a second series.
Coronation Street was UTV Ireland's best performing show of the year, with an average of 596,900 viewers or a 37pc market share - more than it achieved in 2014 when its broadcasting rights were held by TV3. I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here came second and Emmerdale was third.
Agricultural show Rare Breed Ireland, another domestically-produced surprise hit, took fifth place with 230,600 viewers or a 14pc market share.
Heavily-advertised Pat Kenny In The Round was ninth, James Nesbitt's Ireland came 13th and Kevin Dundon's Back to Basics cooking show was UTV Ireland's 19th most popular show. Dundon has agreed to do another series in 2016.
The future for the television station under new owner ITV will not be entirely clear until the €140m sale of UTV's television assets to ITV is completed. It is continuing to commission new shows, such as Home Truths From Abroad, a programme focused on Irish people living overseas which will air later this year.
The deal was given the green light by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, one of the first regulatory hurdles it faced, on December 17.
A range of other regulatory approval processes still remain; British communications regulator Ofcom and both the Irish and UK competition authorities must give the green light.
They are expected to have concluded their deliberations by March.
Sunday Indo Business