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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
By Ellie Iorizzo, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter

King’s Christmas message tops festive TV ratings

The King’s Christmas message was the most-watched programme on Christmas Day (Victoria Jones/PA)

The King’s Christmas message was the most-watched programme on Christmas Day.

The annual festive broadcast was watched by an average of 8.1 million viewers on BBC One, according to the broadcaster.

Charles’s pre-recorded address to the nation mirrored the late Queen’s well-established template, with a personal reflection on the year touching on current issues and with a Christian framework.

The King and other members of the royal family hold a vigil at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh in honour of the late Queen (Jane Barlow/PA)

In his message, he sympathised with families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and spoke about the “great anxiety and hardship” experienced by many trying to “pay their bills”.

The central theme was a celebration of “selfless dedication”, a value embodied by the Queen, and he praised the actions of individuals, charities and faith groups supporting those in need.

He delivered the historic Christmas broadcast from the quire of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, mirroring the late Queen’s 1999 festive address.

Last year, the Queen’s Christmas broadcast was watched by 7.4 million viewers on the BBC and 1.7 million on ITV.

Alexandra Mardell and Kai Widdrington won the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2022 (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

Strictly Come Dancing’s Christmas Special also proved to be a ratings hit this year, with an average audience of 5.4 million viewers seeing actress Alexandra Mardell and professional partner Kai Widdrington crowned the winners.

The BBC secured the top six most-watched programmes on Christmas Day and was the biggest channel of the day, the broadcaster said.

Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Wheel was the third most watched programme of the day, securing 4.8 million viewers, closely followed by Call The Midwife with 4.5 million.

Sid Owen as Ricky Butcher and Charlie Brooks in the Christmas Day episode of EastEnders (Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron/BBC/PA)

EastEnders’ Christmas Day episode, which saw Danny Dyer’s character Mick Carter killed off in a tragic storyline, also appeared in the top 10 with 3.2 million viewers, the BBC said.

Video of the Day

Chief content officer Charlotte Moore said: “Winning the Christmas Day ratings caps off an incredible centenary year of world-class content on the BBC.

“In a time of so much competition and choice, the BBC continues to be the UK’s entertainment destination on Christmas Day.”

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