Entertainment & Arts

Queen tops combined Christmas Day viewing figures

The Queen Image copyright PA

The Queen's broadcast, simulcast on BBC One and ITV, topped the Christmas Day ratings, with overnight figures showing an average of 7.82 million viewers.

Mrs Brown's Boys on BBC One, averaging 7.61 million, had the single biggest audience for the second year running.

However, overall figures for live TV viewing were sharply down on last year.

BBC One had seven of the top 10 most watched programmes while ITV had four - the channels shared the Queen's Christmas Broadcast at 15:00 GMT.

Irish-based sitcom Mrs Brown's Boys topped the ratings last year. But it dropped from the 9.4 million viewers it attracted then, while second-placed EastEnders also dipped, to 7.55 million. That allowed the traditional 10-minute message from the Queen to move to the top spot when figures for both BBC and ITV were combined.


Christmas Day top 10

Image caption Mrs Brown's Boys was the single most watched programme for a second year in a row
  1. The Queen (BBC One and ITV) - 7.82 million
  2. Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Special (BBC One) - 7.61 million viewers
  3. EastEnders (BBC One) - 7.55 million
  4. Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special (BBC One) - 6.98 million
  5. Call The Midwife (BBC One) - 6.83 million
  6. Miranda (BBC One) - 6.67 million
  7. Coronation Street (ITV) - 6.41 million
  8. Doctor Who (BBC One) - 6.34 million
  9. Emmerdale (ITV) - 5.53 million
  10. Downton Abbey (ITV) - 5.52 million

Source: Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB)


ITV had three other shows in the top 10, according to the figures from the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board, with Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Downton Abbey in seventh, ninth and 10th respectively.

The Queen's Christmas Broadcast at 15:00 GMT attracted 5.71 million on BBC One and 2.11 million on ITV, while a further 400,000 watched a repeat of the monarch's message at 17:00 on BBC Two.

The Queen used her broadcast to highlight the importance of reconciliation between people, speaking of the impact of the Scottish independence referendum, and recalling the moment German and British soldiers put down their weapons and met on Christmas Day in 1914.


Analysis

Lizo Mzimba, entertainment correspondent, BBC News

Some might be surprised to see the Queen top of the overnight TV ratings, but it is not unexpected, at least in that initial snapshot of who watched what on Christmas Day.

It is one of the few programmes that people and families still like to sit down and watch as it is broadcast. It has the added appeal of being shown on more than one channel.

As has long been the case there was a strong preference to watch it on BBC One.

But last year more than four-and-a-half million people either recorded the Doctor Who special and watched in the following week, or downloaded it from the BBC's iPlayer, increasing its viewing figures hugely.

When the final consolidated figures are issued in early January, it is almost certain other programmes will overtake the Queen.

Changing times and technologies does not mean Christmas Day progammes are becoming less popular. It just means audiences now watch when they want, rather than gathering around the TV as was traditional for so many years.


The ratings, provided by BARB, the official source of television viewing figures in the UK, are only provisional overnight figures and could change once viewers who recorded programmes and then watched them later are taken into account.

In recent years, viewing figures for Christmas Day have continued to decline, as people use on-demand services such as the BBC's iPlayer and the ITV Player or watch online.

None of the overnight ratings include these services.

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