Samantha McCaughren PANNED by the critics but loved by the public, homegrown comedy, Killinaskully, was Ireland's most watched programme this Christmas.
For a second year running, Pat Shortt's show has been the country's favourite festive programme and it pulled in 825,000 viewers on Christmas Day.
The figures are based on the Nielsen ratings and account for viewing across all channels.
Irish-made programmes dominated the most-watched programmes over Christmas and the New Year, despite the plethora of satellite alternatives now at our finger tips. The top 20 included Winning Streak, Showbands 2 and Tubridy Tonight.
This trend was evident throughout 2005, with industry viewing figures revealing that the Late Late Toy Show was the most watched programme during the year.
Drawing 1.1m viewers, the 2005 edition was, in fact, the most watched show by Irish viewers for three years.
During the two-week festive period, RTE 1 was the clear winner, accounting for 19 of the top 20 programmes over Christmas.
The only other con10der was TV3, with its Coronation St on December 28 at sixth place.
Louise Fitzpatrick, a research executive with Dublin agency Initiative, said: "Christmas soap viewing was down in 2005 on 2004, due primarily to the lack of gripping Christmas shocker plot lines.
"While many people bemoaned the lack of a huge blockbuster on RTE this Christmas Day, 'Pirates of the Caribbean' performed extremely well, also making it into the league of the top most viewed television programmes in 2005."
Over 620,000 people watched the movie, which stars Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly.
Post-Christmas debt may have been on minds of viewers over the holidays, with Winning Streak attracting 670,000 viewers on New Year's Eve, putting it in second position.
For those not expecting a big win, Eddie Hobbs's financial makeover programme Show Me the Money may have seemed like a more realistic option.
Over half a million people tuned in on New Year's Day, making it the 11th most viewed programme over the festive season.
The top programmes for the full year were mainly live specials, including the You're A Star live results show and the Rose of Tralee.
Sport was huge for Irish audiences, with the All Ireland Senior Football final the fourth most popular programme in 2005.
"While many people may cringe at the talent shows such as You're a Star and The Rose of Tralee, everybody watches them - if only to comment on the cringiest moments afterwards," said Ms Fitzpatrick. "Irish people are still patriotic and parochial, and the local hero element in both sport and talent shows is huge," she added.
Programmes such as Desperate Housewives and Lost may be huge hits, but are shown over and over again on different stations which means viewers can pick and chose when they watch them. But Killinaskully still managed to make it into the year's top 10, with the Christmas special the sixth most viewed programme of the year.
TOY SHOW TOP OF THE BOX: