Is the era of religiously watching television on Christmas in the United Kingdom ending? We wouldn’t go that far, but it is becoming increasingly-clear that this is not the titanic tradition that it once was.
It wasn’t all that long ago when there were some specials and programs watched in the UK by more than 10 million viewers; yet, on December 25 this year the most-watched broadcast was the Queen’s speech, which drew around 6.4 million viewers on the day across multiple networks. That managed to beat out Michael McIntyre’s Big Show, which generated 6.1 million viewers. Meanwhile, Strictly Come Dancing posted 5.8 million and then Call the Midwife pulled in 5.5 million.
Related Call the Midwife video! – Be sure to check out some of our video thoughts on the special at the bottom of this article! Meanwhile, be sure to subscribe to CarterMatt on YouTube for more TV news and discussions.
Of course, we should note that all of these specials are subject to enormous ratings increases after the fact as viewers catch up either via recordings or the iPlayer / similar devices. The thing about Christmas is that there are going to be many opportunities for viewers to be able to catch up while they are away from work and the rest of their week is completely upended. (This is what makes Tuesday a great day of the week for Christmas — because of when it is this year, it’s hard for viewers to really get back into regular work for the rest of the week.)
New episodes of Call the Midwife season 8 will air early next year, and once we start to see those episodes, we’ll have a better actual sense of this show’s popularity. For the time being, we’re happy to just take a look at things from a Christmas point of view. (Over the past couple of years, at least, ratings have improved for the actual episodes — given that the Christmas episode is tradition, though, we don’t see the BBC suddenly removing it for this reason. They’re probably find with the numbers taking a dip.)
One possible reason for some lower ratings
Frankly, there weren’t too many huge specials this year. Victoria did not return with one on ITV; meanwhile, the annual Doctor Who Christmas Special was moved to New Year’s Day, at least for this year. We’ll get a good gauge on its ratings come January 1; in addition to that, this is when the new season of Luther is officially going to premiere on BBC One.
Did you watch any British television on Christmas Day? Be sure to share right now in the attached comments. (Photo: BBC.)