British Christmas ratings - "Doctor Who" averages 6.3 million viewers, "Downton"

TV Arts


BBC Sitcom Tops U.K. Christmas Day Ratings, 'Doctor Who' Beats
'Downton Abbey'
by Georg Szalai

The Doctor Who Christmas special on BBC One, starring Nick Frost as
Santa Claus, and the Downton Abbey special on ITV drew lower ratings
in the U.K. on Thursday night than last year, with Doctor Who again
winning the ratings showdown.

For the second year in a row, the Christmas ratings ranking in the
country was led by a BBC sitcom. But all big shows attracted smaller
overnight audiences than last year.

Sci-fi hit Doctor Who, starring Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman, drew
6.34 million viewers in the overnight ratings for a share of 27.5
percent, according to ratings consultancy Attentional. That compared
with 8.29 million for a 30.7 percent audience share on Christmas Day
last year and made it the seventh-ranked program in Britain for the

The Downton Abbey special attracted 5.84 million viewers in the
overnight ratings, its lowest-ever Christmas Day overnight audience
and ranking right behind Doctor Who, according to Attentional. That
was a share of 24.5 percent. The performance compared with 7.01
million and 27 percent for the 2013 holiday special featuring the
Crawley family. 

Last year, the Christmas Day special of sitcom Mrs Brown's Boys on BBC
One, was the most-watched program in Britain on Dec. 25 with an
average audience of 9.4 million. The comedy, created by and starring
Irish writer Brendan O'Carroll, again led the British ratings this
year, excluding a royal address that topped the ranking when combining
viewership on two networks. Boys had 7.61 million viewers and a share
of 32.2 percent, according to Attentional. 

The show led an overall strong Christmas showing for the BBC.

In 2013, ITV soap opera Coronation Street had averaged 7.9 million
viewers on Christmas Day, beating the BBC's EastEnders for the first
time in more than 10 years. But this year, EastEnders won the ratings
showdown again, drawing 7.55 million average viewers. That made it the
second most-watched show on British TV on Christmas Day. Coronation
Street drew 6.62 million viewers.

The third most-watched show in Britain was BBC dance competition
Strictly Come Dancing, which attracted 6.98 million viewers, followed
by the BBC's Call the Midwife, the highest-rated drama of the night,
and comedy Miranda with 6.83 million and 6.67 million, respectively.

As expected, Christmas Day ratings were down for most shows amid
changing viewing behavior in Britain. The consolidated audience
figures, including catch-up viewing, will be higher. Some observers
had predicted that this year's Christmas Day overnight audience
figures could be among the lowest on record in the U.K.

Attentional said that BBC One had 7 million viewers on average in the

last year, all peak-time BBC1/ITV programs were down," Attentional
said. "Doctor Who: down 24%. Corrie: down 20%. Mrs Brown: down 19%.
Downton: down 17%. Call the Midwife: down 4%. EastEnders: down 3%."

Added Attentional: "The Queen bucked the trend - up by 90,000."

Indeed, the annual Christmas address by Queen Elizabeth II drew 5.71
million viewers on the BBC, the ninth-best ratings performance of the
night, and 2.11 million on ITV, according to the firm. On a combined
basis, that meant 7.82 million total viewers for a 50.7 percent share.
Looking at the combined audiences, the Queen's Christmas message would
have been the most-watched TV program of the day in Britain.

Here are the top 10 U.K. TV programs on Christmas Day in the overnight

1. Mrs Brown’s Boys (BBC) 7.61 million
2. EastEnders (BBC) 7.55 million
3. Strictly Come Dancing (BBC) 6.98 million
4. Call the Midwife (BBC) 6.83 million
5. Miranda (BBC) 6.67 million
6. Coronation Street (ITV) 6.62 million
7. Doctor Who (BBC) 6.34 million
8. Downton Abbey (ITV) 5.84 million
9. The Queen’s Christmas Message (BBC) 5.71 million
9. Emmerdale (ITV) 5.71 million
YaY, "Emmerdale"!!  :)