EastEnders wins Christmas Day TV ratings battle

EastEnders character Phil Mitchell
Image caption EastEnders' dramatic storylines pulled in more than 10 million viewers

EastEnders has won the Christmas Day TV ratings war for the third year running, overnight figures show.

At its peak, it had 10.2 million viewers while ITV's Coronation Street got 9.9 million. The shows averaged 9.9m and 9.3 million respectively.

In a strong showing for ITV, the Downton Abbey Christmas special was the third most watched at its peak, with BBC One's Doctor Who in fourth.

The Queen's Speech, broadcast on both BBC and ITV, was viewed by 8.2 million.

Based on average viewing figures, the positions for Downton Abbey and Doctor Who were reversed, with the BBC One show attracting 8.9m and the ITV period drama averaging 8.6m over its two-hour special.

Other most-watched shows, based on 15-minute peaks, were BBC hit Strictly Come Dancing in sixth place, followed by a revival of 1990s comedy Absolutely Fabulous.

ITV's Emmerdale had 7.1 million viewers at its peak, putting it in eighth place, following by another ITV show, All Star Family Fortunes.

Animated film the Gruffalo's Child on BBC One came in joint 10th for peak audiences, with Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

ITV's performances were boosted by the fact that the figures include viewers watching shows on its ITV1+1 channel, while the BBC does not have an equivalent service.

However, the BBC does repeat EastEnders on BBC Three and that screening attracted a peak of 867,000 Christmas Day viewers - pushing the soap past the 11 million mark.

The top show on BBC Two was a repeat of the Porridge Christmas special and Christmas University Challenge, which both peaked with a 2.2 million audience.

Animated film Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs was most popular on Channel 4, with 2.5 million tuning in.

Meanwhile, top spot on Channel Five was shared by Christmas films Mrs Miracle 2 and The Santa Suit, and Eddie Stobart: Trucks and trailers.

Referring to EastEnders, BBC One controller Danny Cohen said: "BBC One had the most popular show and the most viewers overall on Christmas Day.

"From Doctor Who to Gruffalo's Child, EastEnders to Strictly, Michael McIntyre and Ab Fab, we wanted to provide something for everyone."

George Entwistle, also from the BBC, added: "The breadth and quality of the BBC's output has been really impressive across all genres and today's figures are testament to that."

BBC entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba said: "While the BBC has again won the overnight ratings battle, this is ITV's strongest showing for years.

"In 2010, only two of its programmes made it into the Christmas Day top 10. The year before only one.

"And a decline in Christmas Day terrestrial viewing appears to be continuing.

"This is the first year no programme managed an average viewership of 10 million or more."

All the figures are based on overnight average figures produced by BARB, which do not take into account viewers who will watch shows at a later date on the BBC iPlayer or the ITV Player, or other catch-up services.