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Downton Abbey finale beats EastEnders in Christmas Day ratings

Downton Abbey, Christmas Special

Story by Jack Foley

THE last ever episode of Downton Abbey beat EastEnders in the Christmas Day TV ratings battle.

The finale of the popular period drama was watched by 6.6 million viewers, compared to the 5.7 million who tuned into the long-running soap.

An hour long episode of EastEnders had gone head to head with Downton for the first of its two hour stretch.

The Downton finale drew a mixed response from critics, with some hailing it as a fitting finale, and others describing it as a “long, dreary” affair. IndieLondon’s Rob Carnevale sided with the former view, writing that despite its flaws, the show “delivered the happiest of happy endings on Christmas night to ensure that it concluded its run on a real high”. Read more

If Downton won the evening ratings battle, it was actually the Queen’s speech, broadcast on BBC and ITV, that proved to be the most watched programme of the day, with a combined audience of 7.2 million.

And it was the BBC that largely dominated the top 10 most viewed programmes on the day, with the 3.Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special coming third with 6.6 million and Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special coming in fourth with 6.4 million.

A special children’s adaptation of popular novel Stick Man rounded out the top five with 6.4 million viewers, while Call The Midwife and Doctor Who came sixth and seventh with 5.8 million viewers each.

The hour-long EastEdners actually only placed eighth on the day, one place ahead of rival soap Coronation Street which attracted 5.6 million.