Thanks partially to both holiday specials bringing with them highly-touted introductions: the latter saw Peter Capaldi's Time Lord regenerate into Jodie Whittaker (whose first words turned out to be, 'Awww, brilliant!'"), while Mrs. Brown's Boys explained away Rory's recasting after longstanding actor Rory Cowan left the show with a little convenient plastic surgery, peeling Rory's bandages away to reveal actor Damien McKiernan.
While the Queen's Christmas message attracted 7.8 million viewers over BBC1, ITV, Sky, and ITV's catch-up plus-one channel, Mrs. Brown's Boys landed an impressive 6.8 million viewers for BBC One, the most that day for any show broadcast on a single channel.
The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special was in second place on BBC One with 6.5 million viewers, followed by Eastenders and Call The Midwife, both with 6.3 million viewers. BBC One's airing of the Queen's message brought 5.9 million viewers, coming in fifth, with 1.9 million viewers choosing to watch it on ITV. Doctor Who then came in sixth with 5.7 million viewers.
Charlotte Moore, director of BBC content, told PA: "Millions of people chose BBC1 on Christmas Day and came together to enjoy the top six most popular programmes from comedy, drama and entertainment, with Mrs. Brown's Boys returning to the top spot."
Channel 4 has said The Great British Bake Off attracted the broadcaster's biggest Christmas Day overnight audience since modern records began in 2002, with an average audience of 3.1 million viewers and a 13.6% share of audience from 7.40pm to 9pm, peaking with 3.4 million viewers. The previous biggest Christmas Day broadcast for Channel 4 was Home Alone in 2016, which attracted three million viewers.
The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special proved the most-watched programme last year, with an average of 7.2 million viewers, perhaps thanks to it featuring judge Len Goodman's last appearance on the show.
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