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article imageOp-Ed: Downton Abbey 'sort of wins' Christmas TV ratings

By Tim Sandle     Dec 26, 2015 in Entertainment
Downton Abbey, a program about the English gentry, came top in the British Christmas television ratings for the most watched program on one channel. However, the monarch's broadcast to the Commonwealth won overall.
Guessing which television program is going to come top of the television ratings in the U.K. is a popular activity, and one some people even gamble on. In these times of hundreds of television channels and time-shifted viewing, the viewing figures and thus sense of collective "live" watching by the nation have far less of an impact than they did 10 or 20 years ago. Nevertheless, there remains something interesting about people's viewing habits over the day when the majority of the population are not working, eat too much food, and then crash-out in front of the television screen.
This year, the address to the Commonwealth by The Queen came top, once the combined audience share is accounted for. The Queen's traditional Christmas message is broadcast simultaneously on the U.K.'s two most popular channels: BBC One and ITV.
Coming in second place, was the period drama Downton Abbey, as the most watched program on one channel (being broadcast on ITV.) The show, for those not familiar, is about a wealthy family in the final "glory days" of the British aristocracy, replete with servants and the trappings of the worst excesses of the class system. Not that social commentary features heavily; the program, for which this was the last ever episode, is essentially a soap opera.
In third place was a dance competition, where minor 'celebrities' dance with professional dancers and judges vote them off one-by-one: the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special.
In fourth place was a show where an aging comic dresses up as not terribly convincing woman, bringing in the most cringing moments of British pantomime to the fore — Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Special.
In fifth was the Stick Man. This was a well-made animated film based on the much-loved children's picture book. At number six was Call The Midwife, a comfy drama about the earlier days of midwifery and trails and tribulations that midwives faced, especially in being regarded as second class to nurses in the healthcare professions occupational hierarchy.
Peter Capaldi is the Twelfth Doctor
Peter Capaldi is the Twelfth Doctor
Seventh came the Christmas-themed episode of Doctor Who, which was easily the best offering broadcast on December 25. The show saw the return of the character River Song, played by Alex Kingston.Eight and ninth places went to soap operas that run all year round. Tenth place was claimed by the movie Brave.
Screenshot from the first scene of Brave
Screenshot from the first scene of Brave
In summary, the top ten (courtesy of the BBC) was:
1. The Queen (BBC One/ITV) 7.2m (6.1 million (m) on BBC One and 1.1m on ITV)
2. Downton Abbey - The Finale (ITV) 6.6m
3. Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special (BBC One) 6.5m
4. Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Special (BBC One) 6.4m
5. Stick Man (BBC One) 6.4m
6. Call The Midwife (BBC One) 5.8m
7. Doctor Who (BBC One) 5.8m
8. EastEnders (BBC One) 5.7m
9. Coronation Street (ITV) 5.6m
10. Brave (BBC One) 5.5m
The places on the list and viewing figures are subject to change, however. The ratings assessment allows recordings of programs made and watched within seven days to be counted. So, the final list may differ slightly.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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