BBC continues to trounce ITV in festive television ratings battle

On Saturday night a news bulletin was ITV1's most-watched programme - with several primetime programmes failing to gain audiences of 2 million

Christmas Day viewing figures might have seen EastEnders trounce Coronation Street for the fourth year in a row. But ITV1 has suffered a further blow in the ratings battle with the BBC this weekend when its Saturday night news bulletin proved its most popular programme of the evening.

ITV1 gained just 8 per cent of the primetime Saturday night audience with new holiday game show Dale’s Great Getaway achieving an audience of fewer than 1.5 million and a repeat of romantic comedy Love Actually gleaning just 1.6 million viewers.

BBC One and BBC Two combined achieved a 20 per cent audience share on Saturday night with the broadcaster's most popular programme Superstars accruing nearly 6 million viewers.

Comparatively ITV’s top-rated show was the news and weather with around 2.5 million, followed by funny clip show I Love You’ve Been Framed by 2.4 million.

An ITV1 documentary celebrating 30 years of the channel’s children’s programming CITV was beaten by a repeat of Dad’s Army on BBC2 at 6.45pm.

These disappointing figures for ITV1 come in the wake of the BBC’s bullish ratings performance throughout the festive viewing season.

On Christmas Day EastEnders (BBC1) gained 9.4 million viewers to ITV1 soap Coronation Street’s 8.6 million.

Other popular shows included Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1, 7.8 million), The Royle Family (BBC1, 7.7 million) and the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC1, 7.6 million).

Even a Christmas special of Julian Fellowes’ hugely popular period drama Downton Abbey failed to take the cake for ITV1, gaining equal 7.3 million viewing figures with BBC1 dramatisation of the diaries of Jennifer Worth Call The Midwife.

With Coronation Street and Downton Abbey the only other ITV1 show to make the top ten on Christmas Day was soap opera Emmerdale which gained an audience of 6 million.

Head-to-head scheduling meant that more people watched Doctor Who live than Emmerdale; whileThe Royle Family was more popular than Downton Abbey; and ITV triumphed with Coronation Street over Call The Midwife.

On Boxing Day BBC1’s sitcom Miranda was watched by ten million compared to the 3 million who tuned into Stephen Fry heist drama Doors Open on ITV.

However, ITV's viewing figures for its Boxing Day Emmerdale episode were up year-on-year by 1.2 million.

Also, like this year 2011's Christmas day top ten included three programmes from ITV1, compared to two programmes from the channel in 2008 and just one show in the top ten in 2009.

ITV declined to comment.

Although last year Downton Abbey came a disappointing fourth in the list of Christmas Day’s most-watched (behind EastEnders, Coronation Street and Doctor Who) another 3.5 million people recorded it to watch later, making it the most-watched programme of the festive period.

ITV might well expect the same pattern to emerge this year after 1.9 million watched the Downton Christmas special afternoon repeat on 27 December. Figures for the numbers who recorded the show to watch later will be released in January.

After months of rumours ITV announced on Boxing Day that Downton Abbey actor Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley, is to leave the show.

ITV said: “We wish him every success for the future. Michelle Dockery will be returning to her role as Lady Mary in series four which begins production in February… Producers decided Matthew and Mary could not simply be estranged or parted, resulting in his untimely and tragic death at the end of the Christmas episode.”

Most-watched on Christmas Day

1 .EastEnders, BBC1 - 9.4m

2. Coronation Street, ITV1 - 8.6m

3. Strictly Come Dancing, BBC1 - 7.8m

4. The Royle Family, BBC1 - 7.7m

5. Dr Who, BBC1 - 7.6m

6= Downton Abbey, ITV1 - 7.3m

6= Call The Midwife, BBC1 7.3m

8. The Queen, BBC1 - 6.3m

9. Emmerdale, ITV1 - 6.2m

10. BBC News, BBC1 - 6.1m

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing