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Mrs Brown versus the Queen makes it a Christmas Day telly battle to remember

By Robert Dex

Christmas Day TV produced an unlikely ratings battle between Mrs Brown's Boys and Mrs Windsor's message, with millions of viewers tuning into both.

The hit BBC comedy, the creation of Irish actor Brendan O'Carroll, pulled in an average audience of 7.6 million to BBC One.

An audience of 5.7 million tuned in to see the Queen's message on the BBC, with another 2.1 million watching on ITV - giving a combined figure of 7.8 million.

The BBC dominated the day, with big hitters including EastEnders where 7.55 million tuned in to see the day unfold with its customary drama in Albert Square, while seven million watched Strictly Come Dancing.

There was good news for Miranda Hart with her sitcom pulling in 6.7 million while Call The Midwife, which she also stars in, did even better with an audience of 6.8 million.

ITV's best-performing show was Coronation Street, which attracted an audience of 6.6 million.

The Doctor Who Christmas special was watched by 6.3 million while 5.8 million tuned in to Downton Abbey.

It is the second year running that Mrs Brown's Boys has pulled in the single biggest audience, with bookmakers offering even money it will repeat the feat next year.

In her annual message, the Queen recalled her June visit to Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast.

It was once a notorious symbol of law and order where republican and loyalist prisoners were held during the Troubles, but is now a visitor attraction and conference centre and "a place of hope and fresh purpose".

She said: "The benefits of reconciliation were clear to see when I visited Belfast in June. While my tour of the set of Game Of Thrones may have gained most attention, my visit to the Crumlin Road Gaol will remain vividly in my mind.

"What was once a prison during the Troubles is now a place of hope and fresh purpose; a reminder of what is possible when people reach out to one another."

Festive top ten

1. Mrs Brown's Boys - BBC One - 7.6m

2. EastEnders - BBC One - 7.55m

3. Strictly Come Dancing - BBC One - 7m

4. Call The Midwife - BBC One - 6.8m

5. Miranda - BBC One - 6.7m

6. Coronation Street - ITV - 6.6m

7. Doctor Who - BBC One - 6.3m

8. Downton Abbey - ITV 5.8m

9. The Queen - BBC One - 5.7m (another 2.1m watched on ITV)

10. Emmerdale - ITV - 5.7m

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