Eight years after his 'final' outing, Del Boy still tops Christmas Day ratings

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The Independent Online

ITV's attempt to challenge the domination of BBC1 in the Christmas Day viewing stakes ended in defeat with viewers largely ignoring World Idol, ITV's centrepiece.

Predictably, the most watched programme on Christmas Day was the BBC's Only Fools and Horses Christmas special, which had 15.5 million viewers or 58 per cent of the available audience.

The figures are only slightly down on last year's special - watched by 16.3 million people or 62 per cent of the audience - which suggests the appeal of Del Boy and Rodney, eight years after their first "final episode" is still holding strong, just about.

It helped the BBC maintain a peak hours share of the Christmas Day audience of 45 per cent, compared to ITV1's 30 per cent. The Queen's Speech, which is shown on all channels, re-entered the top 10 in eighth place, after slipping out last year.

ITV1's 7.30pm edition of Coronation Street - with a mystery about who had fathered a child - was the number three programme, with nearly 12 million watching. But then at 8.40pm, soap-obsessed viewers appear to have switched over en masse, with just enough time to put the kettle on, for the 8.45pm edition of EastEnders.

That episode was scheduled so it segued straight into Only Fools and Horses and netted 14 million viewers, well over half the available audience.

World Idol, an international version of Pop Idol was watched by 4.5m viewers - just 17 per cent of the available audience and not enough to make it into the top ten.

The BBC will also be hoping that last night's scheduling of the first of two final episodes of The Office will beat competition from Agatha Christie's Poirot on ITV1.

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