Entertainment & Arts

Christmas Day television ratings topped by EastEnders

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Media captionThe BBC's Lizo Mzimba looks at how the big players fared in the battle for Christmas TV ratings

EastEnders won the Christmas Day television ratings battle according to overnight figures, with a special episode of the BBC One soap averaging 9.4 million viewers.

Second was Coronation Street, which averaged 8.6 million viewers on ITV1.

Third place went to the Queen's Christmas Day broadcast, with 8.3 million watching on BBC One and ITV1.

The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special came fourth and the Royle Family came fifth. Both are on the BBC.

Controller of BBC One, Danny Cohen, said: "It's been brilliant to see so many viewers watching BBC One on Christmas Day.

"We have many more television treats for viewers to enjoy on BBC One over the rest of the festive season."

Seven of the top 10 programmes were shown on BBC One, while ITV1, which includes viewers for its +1 catch-up channel, filled the other positions.

Christmas viewing figures were down for many shows, with EastEnders having half a million less than in 2011.

Call The Midwife drew its smallest audience since launching earlier this year, and Doctor Who, with 7.6 million viewers, had an average audience of 1.3 million fewer than in Christmas 2011.

The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special was up 300,000 year on year, reaching 7.8 million viewers.

The figures are provided by the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board and Television Research Partnership, and do not take into account repeat showings.

However, the BBC's entertainment correspondent, Lizo Mzimba said that once final figures - which include digital catch-up services - are taken in account, the situation could change.

In 2011, ITV's Downton Abbey came fourth according to overnight figures, but eventually it rose to first because of nearly 3 million extra viewers watching after Christmas Day.

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