Top 10 Most Monumental Live TV Events Of All Time

You might not have been around when Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon but the televised Apollo 11 mission has been named the most monumental live event ever broadcast in a recent survey.

Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon has been joined by the fall of the Berlin wall and Princess Diana’s funeral as the most monumental live TV events of all time. In a recent survey commissioned by and carried out by OnePoll, TV trends and favourites were revealed with ITV’s I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! and BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing ranking highly amongst current shows. They were joined by other popular live TV programmes including X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.

As for the most monumental moments in TV history, the Apollo 11’s lunar module touching down on the Moon on 20th July, 1969 allowing Armstrong and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin to set foot foot on the moon’s surface for the first time was the stand out. Footage of Armstrong’s “One small step for man” was broadcast on BBC1, BBC2 and ITV at 3.56am on 21st July, 1969, as 600 million people watched worldwide. The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9 1989 appeared in second in the countdown, followed by the funeral of Princess Diana, which was broadcast on September 6 1997.

Greg Tatton-Brown, a spokesperson for online live casino, which commissioned the study, said: “Experiencing events live makes us feel a part of monumental moments, from the wonder of the Apollo 11 moon landing, to the triumph of the fall of the Berlin Wall, to the national grief of the funeral of Princess Diana. Live broadcasts allow us all to share in the experience, and that’s a powerful thing.”

Sixty three per cent of viewers said they enjoyed the feeling of being part of the moment which live TV provides, though one in four admitted they join in specifically in the hope of catching a live TV mishap or gaffe. For example, one in five tuned in to watch a tipsy Holly Willoughby and Phil Schofield laugh and bumble through an episode of This Morning after their boozy night out at the National Television Awards in January last year.

Greg Tatton-Brown added: “If you can’t find the means to get out and catch an event in the moment, as it happens, watching it live on TV or online is the next best thing. There’s something special about knowing what you are viewing is happening right now, and that the next moment could bring new thrills, disaster or the headline to tomorrow’s newspapers.”

Top 10 Most Monumental Live TV Events Of All Time

10. OJ Simpson car chase

Image: Los Angeles Times

9. Apollo 13 splashdown

8. Barack Obama inauguration

7. William and Kate Royal Wedding

6. Charles and Diana Royal Wedding

5. Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

4. 1966 FIFA World Cup Final

3. The funeral of Princess Diana


2. The fall of the Berlin Wall

Image: The Irish Times

1. Apollo 11 Moon landing

Words By Grant Bailey

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    Mark Fraser Reply

    Three glaring omissions (and forgive spelling, please):

    The collapse of the twin towers on 911.

    The Fukishima tsunami (apparently it was Al Jeezera that got the saddening overhead footage of the wave moving inland).

    The American soldiers arriving in Baghdad’s downtown square just before the statue of Saddam was pulled down (in Australia, after a few weeks of wall to wall coverage of the invasion, this was being broadcast live on SBS when – for some inexplicable reason – they cut the feed and went to a religious program … had to wait for the 6pm news that night to see the statue being smashed).

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