Belfast Telegraph

Audiences for most-watched Christmas Day TV shows hit record low

Audiences for the UK's most-watched TV shows on Christmas Day have fallen to their lowest level on record.

Call The Midwife, the highest-rated programme on December 25 2016, attracted an audience of just 9.2 million.

This is the smallest number of viewers for a Christmas Day chart-topper since the current system of ratings began in 1981.

Other programmes in the 2016 festive top 10 included Mrs Brown's Boys (9.0 million), Strictly Come Dancing (8.9 million) and The Great Christmas Bake Off (8.2 million).

Just one week earlier the Strictly Come Dancing final had been watched by 13.3 million.

The figures, from the research body Barb, also show that BBC One had eight of the 10 most-watched shows on December 25 2016, while ITV had two.

Christmas Day TV audiences have been in steady decline over the past few decades.

No programme has won more than 20 million viewers since 2001, and 15 million has not been reached since 2008.

The year 2016 was only the second in which no programme managed to get at least 10 million viewers. The first was 2014, when Mrs Brown's Boys topped the chart with 9.7 million.

Call The Midwife's 2016 chart-topping rating of 9.2 million is just over half the number who watched Wallace And Gromit: A Matter Of Loaf And Death in 2008 (16.2 million).

The single biggest Christmas Day TV audience in history was recorded in 1989 when 21.8 million watched the UK premiere of the film Crocodile Dundee.

The size of the average TV audience on Christmas Day has fallen from 18.5 million in the 1980s to 17.4 million in the 1990s, 14.8 million in the 2000s, and 11.1 million this decade.

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