Christmas Day TV: Nine million tune in for Queen’s message

The Queen’s Christmas message, in which she spoke movingly about her late husband and empathised with families missing loved ones, was the most-watched TV show on Christmas Day.

An audience of 8.96 million saw the festive address on BBC One, ITV and Sky News, according to overnight ratings.

The BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special and Call the Midwife were the next two most popular shows.

In the battle of the soaps, ITV’s Coronation Street came out on top.

In her first annual Christmas message since the death of Prince Philip, the Queen, 95, described him as her beloved.

“Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones – this year especially I understand why,” she said in the pre-recorded 10-minute address broadcast at 15:00 GMT.

Her message last year, which centred on hope amid the pandemic, also topped the ratings, but drew slightly fewer viewers, with 8.14 million tuning in.

Fred Sirieix and his dance partner Dianne Buswell taking part in this year's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas SpecialIMAGE SOURCE,PA MEDIA
Image caption,

First Dates host Fred Sirieix opened the Strictly Christmas special with a quickstep

By early evening, nearly six million were following six celebrities as they competed for the crown in Strictly’s Christmas Special.

This year’s champion, pop star Anne-Marie, cha cha cha-ed her way to a perfect score of 40 from the judges, beating former Bake Off presenter Mel Giedroyc whose dance to Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby was also a big hit.

Other BBC Christmas Day favourites followed in the ratings list, including Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Wheel, Blankety Blank, Mary Poppins Returns starring Emily Blunt, and Superworm, an adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s popular children’s book.

Coronation Street was in eighth place – ITV’s top-rated programme of the day – drawing 3.25 million viewers, followed closely by soap rivals ITV’s Emmerdale (3 million) and BBC’s EastEnders (2.92 million), according to ratings body Barb.

This year, ITV put its Christmas Day shows on its on-demand player in the morning. People watching in that way are not reflected in the overnight figures, but will be included in the consolidated figures, which come out in just over a week’s time.

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