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Downton Abbey to clash with EastEnders on Christmas Day

Downton Abbey

Story by Jack Foley

HAVING lost one battle against Downton Abbey recently (with Spooks), the BBC is determined to have another go at the nation’s favourite new costume drama!

The annual Christmas Day edition of EastEnders has been scheduled for the same time as the Downton Abbey Christmas special, at 9pm.

The news, which had been rumoured, follows the announcements of both BBC and ITV Christmas schedules. And it’s clashes all the way.

The battle for ratings commences proper at 7pm, when Doctor Who kicks off the BBC evening line-up at the same time as All Star Family Fortunes on ITV1 (a pretty safe bet for a BBC win).

But then it’s Coronation Street versus Strictly Come Dancing at 8pm and the big pairing of EastEnders and Downton at 9pm.

Given that Downton runs two hours, it’ll also be up against newly revived classic comedy Absolutely Fabulous, which airs on BBC1 at 10pm, followed by Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Comedy Roadshow at 10.30pm.

Moving onto Boxing Day and the BBC’s new adaptation of The Borrowers – starring Stephen Fry, Victoria Wood and Christopher Eccleston – will air at 7.30pm, followed by new David Jason comedy The Royal Bodyguard at 9.30pm.

ITV1 has scheduled its new Poirot instalment The Clocks in opposition at 9pm.

The BBC also has children’s animation The Gruffalo’s Child (airing on BBC1 at 6.30pm on December 25) and a new three-part, three-night adaptation of Great Expectations (beginning December 27 at 9pm) in its festive locker.