ITV have won the Christmas Day ratings for the first time in fifteen years as the Downton Abbey finale was watched by an average of 6.9 million viewers according to overnight figures.
Eastenders, which went head-to-head with Downton, suffered as a result and only drew 5.7 million viewers meaning ITV also won the battle of the soaps with Coronation Street attracting 100, 000 more viewers. Meanwhile Emmerdale, which was the other soap shown on Christmas Day, garnered an audience of 4.26 million.
BBC’s highest rated programme of the day was the Strictly Come Dancing Special which had an average audience of 6.5 million viewers. Meanwhile, both an adaptation of Stick Man and the annual Call the Midwife special performed well for the channel as did surprising ratings winner Mrs. Brown’s Boys. However the audience for the annual Doctor Who special was down on last year with only 5.9 million tuning in compared to last year’s 6.3 million.
Although Downton Abbey attracted the highest ratings for a programme showing on any one channel, The Queen’s Speech still drew in the most viewers when you combine those who watched on BBC One and ITV. The combined audience of The Queen’s Speech came to 7.2 Million however this is down on last year’s 7.8 million.
Channel 4’s highest-rated show was Gogglebox spin-off Gogglesprogs whilst BBC Two drew in the most viewers for Darcey’s Ballet Heroes.
The biggest shock coming out of these ratings is how few people are watching linear TV as compared to previous years. The rise of streaming services and catch-up TV have given viewers more options than ever before and the fact that only 6.9 million people tuned into the highest rated show of the day is mind-boggling when you look at the ratings five years ago.