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Sunday Life

Queen B: Mrs Brown reigns supreme as she keeps Christmas Day TV ratings crown

Exclusive: Comedy comes out tops in Northern Ireland homes

By Sarah Henderson

Mrs Brown's Boys has beaten the Queen to win the Christmas Day TV ratings battle in Northern Ireland for a sixth successive year.

Northern Ireland went against the UK-wide trend, with Brendan O'Carroll's foul-mouthed Mrs Brown comfortably seeing off all-comers to claim the crown of the most watched TV programme in the province on Christmas Day.

According to independent audience research figures, 283,000 homes in Northern Ireland tuned in to watch Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special on BBC One and see Agnes take part in Fr Damian's Christmas decoration contest.

The Christmas night TV audience for the comedy was up yet again on last year's figures.

The Queen's traditional Christmas message in the afternoon, which was the UK's most popular programme, attracted a combined audience of 187,000 Northern Ireland homes watching on BBC and UTV.

This was the second most popular programme in Northern Ireland, but the figure was well down on last Christmas.

In third place was the Strictly Come Dancing special, with Michael McIntyre's Christmas special, also on BBC, the other star performer of the day in fifth place.

Until the first appearance of Mrs Brown at the top of the charts in 2013, the soaps traditionally took the top slots, however, this year all three soaps showed a drop in viewing figures.

ITV's Coronation Street topped the soaps chart, finishing in fourth place with 170,000 homes tuning in across Northern Ireland to see the hour-long special from the cobbled streets of Weatherfield - but that is a significant drop on last year's figures.

It finished ahead of Emmerdale in sixth place with 155,000 viewers, and EastEnders in joint seventh place with 148,000 local viewers.

The top 10 is completed by the ITV Evening News, with Call the Midwife on BBC One and film The Jungle Book sharing joint ninth.

The big misses of Christmas night included The Great Christmas Bake Off which was viewed in just 94,000 households after its switch to Channel 4.

ITV's prestige ice-skating drama Torvill and Dean - filmed largely at Dundonald Ice Bowl - proved a big a turn-off for many people, with just 89,000 homes here watching the feature-length biopic.

The top 10

1. Mrs Brown's Boys 283,000

2. Queen's Broadcast 187,000

3. Strictly Come Dancing 177,000

4. Coronation Street 170,000

5. Michael McIntyre's Christmas Special 167,000

6. Emmerdale 155,000

Joint 7. EastEnders 148,000, ITV evening news 148,000

Joint 9. Call the Midwife 142,000, Jungle Book 142,000

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