ITV’s traditional blockbuster Downton Abbey is to go up against ratings hit Mrs Brown’s Boys in the battle for Christmas Day viewers.

Downton Abbey Christmas cast shot



(ITV)

The two-hour Downton special faces EastEnders and an edition of the Irish comedy, starring Brendan O’Carroll, on BBC One on the evening of December 25.

Brendan O'Carroll in the Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special



(BBC/Alan Peebles)

Mrs Brown’s Boys was the biggest programme on Christmas Day last year, with an audience of 9.4 million according to overnight ratings, while the action in Albert Square drew 7.8 million and Downton had seven million.

A shot of the Doctor Who Christmas special



(BBC/David Venni)

BBC One’s festive special of Doctor Who – which sees the Doctor meeting Santa Claus (played by Nick Frost) will be up against Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs At Christmas.

Another favourite, the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing special will face competition from a new episode of You’ve Been Framed and will also overlap with the Paul O’Grady programme. A 70-minute edition of Call the Midwife will be up against an hour-long episode of Coronation Street.

Miranda Hart in Call The Midwife



Miranda Hart in Call The Midwife (BBC)

ITV will capitalise on interest in the annual 3pm screening of the Queen’s Speech by broadcasting the first of a two-part series The Queen’s Garden – hosted by Alan Titchmarsh – straight afterwards.

On Christmas Eve, ITV will be broadcasting the free-to-air TV premiere of James Bond hit Skyfall, which is the highest grossing film ever at the UK box office, while on BBC One there will be a screening of family drama The Incredible Adventures Of Professor Branestawm, starring Harry Hill.

Harry Hill as Professor Branestawm in The Incredible Adventures Of Professor Branestawm



Harry Hill as Professor Branestawm in The Incredible Adventures Of Professor Branestawm (BBC)