BBC 'wins UK ratings war'

The BBC was today claiming victory in the UK's Christmas Day TV viewing battle with eight of the top 10 most-watched shows.

BBC 'wins UK ratings war'

The BBC was today claiming victory in the UK's Christmas Day TV viewing battle with eight of the top 10 most-watched shows.

BBC1's big-hitters included 'Doctor Who', with more than 11 million tuning in to see the reworking of seasonal favourite 'A Christmas Carol', as the channel took all of the top five shows.

The best-viewed show of the day proved to be an hour-long edition of 'EastEnders' with an average of 11.4 million who tuned in to see Stacey Branning exit Albert Square after first scrapping with Janine Malloy (Charlie Brooks).

BBC1 usually tends to dominate the TV remote control on Christmas Day, but ITV1 had the upper hand on Christmas Eve with a higher share of peak-time viewing and a 10.6 million audience for its edition of 'Coronation Street' - its biggest December 25 episode since 2007.

There was some good news for ITV1 yesterday too as the channel increased its share of viewers slightly compared to 2009. However it achieved only two spots in the top ten, with 'Coronation Street' leading the fight at number six with nine million viewers.

One of the BBC's biggest successes was the debut of Matt Lucas and David Walliams's new show 'Come Fly With Me', which was the second highest rated show of the day.

The comedy, set in an airport with all-new characters, had an average of 10.3 million viewers and has nudged its way into the top 10 shows of the year at number 10. It was up against ITV1's big two-hour drama 'Poirot' which landed 4.2 million viewers.

'Doctor Who' drew an average of 10.3 million viewers - with 11.5 million tuning in at its peak - down slightly by 100,000 viewers on last year, and the lowest audience for a Christmas Day edition since 2006.

The seasonal special of 'Strictly Come Dancing' proved to be a much bigger draw than the previous year as viewers tuned in to see stars such as Business Secretary Vince Cable go through their paces on the dance floor, just days after he was stripped of some of his powers.

The show pulled in an average of 9.4 million, up on 2009's 6.8 million.

Ronnie Corbett's return to centre stage with his 'One Ronnie' show - a nostalgic evocation of his Two Ronnies days with a number of guest stars filling the place of the late Ronnie Barker - proved to be a big hit with 7.9 million viewers, and seventh place in the Christmas Day top 10.

Across the peak-time slots - from 6pm to 10.30pm, BBC1 had an average audience of 10.2 million, while ITV1 drew 6.1 million.

A spokesman for ITV said: "ITV1 has had a very successful year on screen in which it has broadcast the most watched television programme in over nine years, four out of the top five most popular shows on any channel, and seven out of the top ten new dramas.

"We're pleased that viewers enjoyed a broad range of programming across this year's Christmas schedule and that ITV1 increased its share of peak time viewing."

BBC1 controller Danny Cohen said: "I'm delighted to see that BBC1 was so popular on Christmas Day. With flying sharks on Doctor Who, festive glitz from Strictly, and brilliant new comedy in Come Fly With Me, we aimed to offer something for everyone on this special day."

* Top ten with viewers in millions (note: where audiences are equal, their positions are differentiated by the programme with the higher audience share)

1. 'EastEnders' - 11.4

2. 'Come Fly With Me' - 10.3

3. 'Doctor Who' - 10.3

4. 'The Royle Family' - 9.9

5. 'Strictly Come Dancing' - 9.4

6. 'Coronation Street' - 9.0

7. 'The One Ronnie' - 7.9

8. 'Shrek The Third' - 7.2

9. 'Emmerdale' 7.2

10. 'BBC News' (10.30pm) - 7.1.

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