You know how it happens. You’re flipping through the TV Guide in the evening, looking for something to watch. Could start that weighty new drama series on Netflix? Oh god, but then you’ll have to put down your phone and give it your undivided attention. That new reality show? Come on - you’re not that desperate. And then you scroll past ITV2.
They’re showing Shaun of the Dead again.
Yes, you’ve seen it five hundred times by this point but hey, it’s really bloody great. You know what happens inside-out, so you can drop in at any point and follow the action. So it looks like you’re going to be spending the evening with 2004 vintage Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost again.
It was while watching the film yet again that it made us wonder: Just how often does ITV repeat it?
Simon Pegg himself has acknowledged the film’s ubiquity on the schedules, tweeting this in 2013:
We started shooting Shaun of the Dead 10 years ago this May. Hard to believe it's been on ITV2, a mere 6,748 times since it's release.
— Pegg News (@simonpegg) March 2, 2013
The second film in the “Cornetto Trilogy”, the equally superb Hot Fuzz is also regularly replayed - and even ITV2 itself has acknowledged this:
Happy 10th Birthday #HotFuzz!
Maybe we'll play it again one of these days... pic.twitter.com/YeQ6BnEY8Z
— ITV2 (@itv2) April 20, 2017
So we decided to actually work it out.
Doing The Maths
To find out, we downloaded the last year’s worth of ITV and ITV2 schedules (all that we could access) - so we have a complete year from the 19th June 2016 to the 18th June 2017. We then simply marked on a calendar how often the two films are shown:
That’s right - it’s perhaps… not as often as you expected. Shaun was shown eight times on ITV2 - and once on the main ITV channel, last Christmas. Hot Fuzz was shown only six times on ITV2, and once again on ITV at Christmas.
Perhaps what makes the showings seem quite so ubiquitous then is that like Prime Numbers and buses, it appears that Edgar Wright films bunch together. With repeated showings only days apart.
In fact, the two films are not even the most regularly repeated films on the channel. The top most-repeated films are Evan Almighty at 12 times, Despicable Me at 11, Cats & Dogs 2: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore 9 times, and Mr Bean’s Holiday 9 times. If you want to catch a disappointing sequel, ITV2 is the place to be.
Once you include TV programmes into the mix too, Shaun is obvious dwarfed - amazingly, in just a year ITV2 managed to show shovelware stalwart You’ve Been Framed an astonishing 1065 times. Management must be hoping that nobody tells viewers that YouTube exists.
So there you have it. Finally, perhaps a few years after the question was particularly pertinent, we’ve figured out the answer to the eternal question: How often does ITV2 repeat Shaun of the Dead? The answer is eight times.