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Call The Midwife beats Queen and Coronation Street in Christmas Day ratings battle in Northern Ireland

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Worthy profession: a scene from Call the Midwife in which nurses work alongside nuns

Worthy profession: a scene from Call the Midwife in which nurses work alongside nuns

Worthy profession: a scene from Call the Midwife in which nurses work alongside nuns

CALL the Midwife won the Christmas Day TV ratings battle in Northern Ireland for the first time.

The BBC One drama pipped the Queen's Christmas message to top spot for the most watched TV terrestrial programme in the province, according to independent audience research figures.

The show, which follows the lives of a group of midwives working in poverty-stricken east London and is based on the best-selling memoirs of Jennifer Worth, just about made the top 10 in Northern Ireland last Christmas, but this year it was the favourite viewing in 177,000 homes.

The Queen's Christmas message was in second place, with 175,000 homes sitting down to watch her address at 3pm on BBC and UTV. The other big Christmas winner with viewers in the province was Strictly Come Dancing, which finished in fourth place with 140,000 viewers.

Overall TV viewing in Northern Ireland was well down from last year's Christmas Day, with Mrs Brown's Boys and the soaps the big losers.

Last Christmas the most watch programme on Christmas night was an hour-long special from Coronation Street, with 269,000 viewers in Northern Ireland.

fall-off

This year, by comparison, the most watched programme, Call the Midwife, was watched in 177,000 homes across Northern Ireland.

Brendan O'Carroll's Mrs Brown's Boys, which until last Christmas was the most watched TV programme in the province for six consecutive years, saw its audience drop further, from 211,000 viewers last Christmas to just 136,000 this time around.

Coronation Street, which topped the ratings in 2019, finished third this Christmas, while EastEnders and Emmerdale also saw a fall-off in viewers.

The top 10 were

1. Call the Midwife177,000 viewers

2. Queen's message175,000

3. Coronation Street144,000

4. Strictly Come Dancing 140,000

5. Mrs Brown's Boys136,000

6. Blankety Blank115,000

7. EastEnders112,000

8. Home Alone 2111,000

9. Emmerdale107,000

10. Michael McIntyre's Christmas Special102,000

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