The 2012 Christmas Special of Doctor Who was scheduled at the earlier time of 5.15 on Christmas Day – the earliest the sci-fi series has aired since its revival in 2005. However, the 5.15 timeslot is very similar to that which the show occupied during its early years on-air.
The Christmas special marked the full introduction of Jenna Louise Coleman as Carla Oswald following her appearance in the season opener Asylum of the Daleks. The special also starred Richard E Grant and the voice of Sir Ian McKellan and saw the return of several popular characters. According to overnight figures The Snowmen was seen by 7.6 million which is an impressive figure given its earlier timeslot and one which will rise with consolidated ratings.
The most watched programme of Christmas Day – according to overnight figures – is BBC One soap EastEnders which typically presented a dramatic day in Walford. EastEnders was seen by 9.4 million viewers but when consolidated ratings are released the soap may just lose its Christmas Day crown.
Period dramas Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey will likely see their ratings surge once consolidated ratings are released. BBC One’s Call the Midwife, starring Miranda Hart, attracted 7.3 million viewers opposite Coronation Street which had 8.8 million viewers. The second annual Christmas Special of Downton Abbey also had 7.3 million viewers as it was scheduled against EastEnders.
Elsewhere on Christmas Day the festive outing of Strictly Come Dancing was seen by 7.8 million viewers while comedy The Royle Family made a welcome return to BBC One with 7.7 million viewers.
It will be interesting to see how the figures shift and what will be the top-rated show of Christmas Day when final figures are released. We suspect that Call the Midwife or Downton Abbey will take the crown but only time will tell….