BBC1 and ITV1 suffer as viewers find repeat-laden Christmas schedule a turn-off

Christmas viewing figures made unpleasant reading for the biggest television channels and showed people had found better things to do over the holiday than watch a schedule laden with repeats.

Christmas viewing figures made unpleasant reading for the biggest television channels and showed people had found better things to do over the holiday than watch a schedule laden with repeats.

For the first time, the two largest stations, BBC1 and ITV1, attracted less than half the total audience from 21 till 28 December as Christmas specials failed in the ratings.

ITV1's much-publicised documentary The Real Beckhams pulled in just 5.5 million, and even BBC1's Only Fools and Horses (the most popular programme on Christmas Day) attracted only 15.5 million, down nearly 5 million on its 2001 figure. Christmas Day audiences as a whole were down by more than a million to 27.2 million from 28.3 million last year, suggesting that people preferred to watch their newly acquired DVDs or to switch off the set.

The hotly anticipated final episodes of The Office, shown on BBC1 on Boxing Day and 27 December, attracted disappointing peak audiences of 6.8 million. The second series of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's comedy had been watched by up to 5.1 million on BBC2. The Queen's Speech, broadcast from Combermere barracks in Windsor, was watched by 6.5 million.

Out of 201 programmes listed in the terrestrial schedules for Christmas Day, 138 were repeats. ITV1 screened 16 repeats, compared with four last year. Ratings figures show the combined audience share of BBC1 and ITV1 fell to 49.9 per cent from 52.2 per cent last year. The biggest loser was BBC1, whose share fell by 5.45 per cent to 28.46 per cent.

ITV1 fell by 2.94 per cent to 21.47 per cent, less than the combined audience of the digital channels, which rose by 10.27 per cent to 24.69 per cent because multi-channel viewers preferred to surf the schedules.

The network had billed World Idol, the international version of the talent show Pop Idol, as a "huge entertainment event", but only 4.5 million viewers tuned in. Football was the biggest attraction outside the terrestrial channels, with the largest audiences for multi-channel television being Middlesbrough's clash with Manchester United on Sunday and Charlton Athletic's Boxing Day fixture with Chelsea.

A BBC spokesman said: "We had seven of the top 10 Christmas Day programmes on BBC1, as opposed to six last year, so we must be doing something right."

Festive flops

WORLD IDOL (ITV1)

The international Pop Idol attracted just 4.5 million.

THE REAL BECKHAMS (ITV1)

Documentary about the alternative royal family drew 5.5 million - fewer than the Queen's Speech.

CORONATION STREET (ITV1)

With an audience of only 11.8 million, The Street was soundly whipped by BBC's EastEnders, at 14.4 million.

ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES (BBC1)

Still the most watched programme, but at 15.5 million it was down 5 million on two years ago.

THE OFFICE (BBC1)

Despite all the hype, it drew just 6.8 million viewers.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Legal Recruitment Consultant

Highly Competitive Salary + Commission: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL BASED - DEALING ...

Digital Project Manager / Web Project Manager

£45-50k (DOE) + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced ...

Account Manager

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Account Manager to join ...

Social Advertising Manager / Social Media Manager

£Excellent + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Social Advertising Manager / Social Med...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment