EastEnders lost its traditional slot topping the Christmas Day viewing as sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys became this year’s most-watched programme.
The Walford drama was also beaten by arch rival Coronation Street, with the ITV show taking the honours as the top festive soap for the first time in more than a decade.
Mrs Brown’s Boys – the bawdy show created by Irish comic Brendan O’Carroll which has become a surprise ratings hit – pulled in an average audience of 9.4 million.
Corrie tied with Doctor Who – which included Matt Smith’s regeneration into new Doctor Peter Capaldi – on 8.3 million viewers, to claim joint second spot in the viewing league.
The Doctor Who special, which saw the Doctor age 300 years and included a brief return for Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, was up 700,000 viewers on last year.
This year’s figures will be seen as a setback for EastEnders, which is regularly at the top of Christmas viewing and had packed this year’s show with incident, including the arrest of Janine Butcher for murder and the arrival of new Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter – played by Danny Dyer. The show lost 1.6 million viewers compared to last year’s special.
The BBC took six of the top 10 places, but the Queen’s Christmas broadcast missed out at the top end of the list. BBC1’s audience for the annual address traditionally figures in the upper 10, but this year’s 5.7 million meant it missed the top shows.
However with the 2.1 million who watched on ITV, the broadcast managed a combined 7.8 million.
The BBC News lost its place in this year’s top 10, replaced by the ITV News.
Charlotte Moore, BBC1 controller, said: “Nothing brings the country together at Christmas quite like BBC1. Huge audiences shared the Christmas Day schedule on the nation’s favourite channel, winning four out of the top five most popular shows. Mrs Brown’s Boys took the top spot with 9.4 million viewers, and the arrival of Peter Capaldi created the biggest peak audience at 10.2 million in Doctor Who.”
The top 10 Christmas Day programmes were:
1. Mrs Brown’s Boys (BBC1, 9.30pm) – 9.4m
2= Doctor Who ( BBC1, 7.30pm) – 8.3m
2= Coronation Street ( ITV, 7.30pm) – 8.3m
4. EastEnders (BBC1, 8.30pm) – 7.8m
5. Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1, 5pm) – 7.3m
6= Call the Midwife (BBC1, 6.15pm) – 7.1m
6= Downton Abbey (ITV, 8.30 pm) – 7m
8. Toy Story 3 (BBC1, 3pm) – 6.3m
9. ITV News (ITV, 10.30pm) – 5.9m
10. Emmerdale (ITV, 6.15pm) – 5.8m