Downton Abbey is best TV show of the past 10 years

'Downton Abbey' has been voted the best new TV show of the past 10 years, in a new poll by Freeview, the UK's biggest TV service

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Downton Abbey star Dame Maggie Smith

Downton Abbey star Dame Maggie Smith

'Downton Abbey' has been voted the best new TV show of the past 10 years.

The ITV1 period drama topped a poll by Freeview, the UK's biggest TV service, to find the most popular programme since 2002.

It beat 'The Inbetweeners' into second place while 'Sherlock' came third, closely followed by 'The Apprentice'.

Ilse Howling, MD of Freeview, said: "From 'Downton' to 'Dragon's Den', 'Sherlock' to 'Shameless', the last 10 years have been a golden era for TV viewers. Now that Digital Switchover has completed, the whole country can receive Freeview and Freeview HD which means universal access to the most-watched TV shows without the need for a subscription."

The Freeview service was launched in 2002 and TV viewers have hailed the last 10years as a golden period for television, with 8m Brits agreeing that TV has never been so good.

Ilse added: "The rapid pace of technological change has offered viewers greater choice in how and when they choose to watch their favourite programmes, and dramatically improved the viewing experience. Our focus for the next decade will be to continue to bring people vibrant and high quality TV for free, in the format they want by making technology accessible."

Top 10 of the Best TV shows launched in last 10 years:

1. 'Downton Abbey', 2010

2. 'The Inbetweeners', 2008

3. 'Sherlock', 2010

4. 'The Apprentice', 2005

5. 'X Factor', 2004

6. 'Come Dine with Me', 2005

7. 'Gavin and Stacey', 2007

8. 'Planet Earth', 2006

9. 'Dancing on Ice', 2006

10. 'Doc Martin', 2004

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