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EastEnders wins Christmas Day viewing battle

Story by Jack Foley

BBC soap EastEnders has won the Christmas Day TV ratings war for the third year in a row, according to overnight figures.

The long-running soap attracted 10.2 million viewers at its peak ahead of ITV’s roval soap Coronation Street, which got 9.9 million.

Both shows averaged 9.9m and 9.3 million respectively.

But ITV had the late last laugh as nation’s favourite Downton Abbey was the third most watched TV show at its peak.

BBC’s Doctor Who came fourth, while The Queen’s Speech, broadcast on both BBC and ITV, was viewed by 8.2 million.

Ironically, the positions for Downton Abbey and Doctor Who were reversed when based on average viewing figures, with the BBC One show attracting 8.9m and the ITV period drama averaging 8.6m over its two-hour special. But Downton attraced a higher peak number.

Other most-watched shows, based on 15-minute peaks, were BBC hit Strictly Come Dancing (in sixth place), Absolutely Fabulous, Emmerdale (which had 7.1 million viewers at its peak) and All Star Family Fortunes.

Commenting on the BBC’s performance, controller Danny Cohen said: “BBC One had the most popular show and the most viewers overall on Christmas Day.

“From Doctor Who to Gruffalo’s Child, EastEnders to Strictly, Michael McIntyre and Ab Fab, we wanted to provide something for everyone.”

However, further analysis shows that ITV enjoyed its strongest Christmas Day viewing for years, while the overall decline in terrestrial viewing patterns continues.

All the figures are based on overnight average figures produced by BARB, which do not take into account viewers who will watch shows at a later date on the BBC iPlayer or the ITV Player, or other catch-up services.