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

Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
musicReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Arts and Entertainment
‘Dawn of Planet of the Apes’ also looks set for success in the Chinese market

film
News
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight

tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
    Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

    Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

    The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
    Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

    Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

    The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

    Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

    Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

    Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

    The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
    The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

    The Open 2014

    Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?