Coronation Street drops out of Christmas TV top 10

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By Lizo Mzimba, entertainment correspondent, & Sean Seddon
BBC News

ITV’s Coronation Street missed out on the top 10 most watched TV programmes of Christmas Day, in what proved to be a mixed day for the soaps.

Emmerdale also failed to make the top 10, but EastEnders enjoyed its biggest festive audience in four years with a much-trailed murder storyline.

The most-viewed show was the King’s Christmas message, which recorded 7.48m viewers across six channels.

Including the King, the BBC had nine of the day’s most watched shows.

The exception was ITV’s big-money game show The 1% Club, presented by Lee Mack, which ITV opted to run in its prime-time 9pm viewing slot this year, and it came in ninth on the list.

By contrast, Coronation Street and Emmerdale each screened half-hour episodes, rather than the hour-long specials of recent years, and were scheduled earlier in the evening. Special editions of the big soap operas have been a fixture of Christmas TV listings for decades – but they have been attracting dwindling audiences in recent years.

Around 2.6m watched Coronation Street at 7pm on ITV1, down from nearly 8m a decade ago and 2.8m last year.

All figures are based on “overnight” TV ratings – which do not include viewers who watch Christmas specials on catch-up services during the rest of the festive period.

Coronation Street’s plotline revolves around the departure of long-time character Peter Barlow, played by Chris Gascoyne.

It is the first time in several decades that the soap has failed to feature in the Christmas Day TV top 10. Emmerdale dropped out for a second year in a row, attracting 1.92m viewers.

Strictly Come Dancing was the most-watched Christmas Day programme, excluding the King’s message

Almost 3.6m watched EastEnders on BBC One at 9.45pm to see the climax of a murder plotline which has been running since early 2023 unveiled in a special late evening episode.

The monarch’s Christmas broadcast was once again the most viewed programme of the day, attracting almost 7.5m viewers across several channels.

But the second message festive broadcast of the King’s reign attracted around 600,000 fewer viewers than in 2022.

Top 10 most watched Christmas Day TV shows

The King’s Christmas Message – 5.89 (BBC One) + 0.58m (BBC Two) + 0.72 (ITV, incl +1) + 0.10 (ITV3) + 0.10 (Sky News) + 0.09 (GB News) – 7.48m

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special (BBC One) – 5.29m

Doctor Who (BBC One) – 4.73m

Ghosts Christmas Special (BBC One) – 4.43m

Call The Midwife (BBC One) – 4.39m

Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Wheel (BBC One) – 4.17m

EastEnders (BBC One) – 3.58m

Toy Story 4 (BBC One) – 3.46m

The 1% Club (ITV1) – 3.36m

Tabby McTat (BBC One) – 3.35m

Source: BARB overnight figures

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