January in numbers: television

by Jack McCormick

1st February 2018

December brings with it the most hotly contested battle on the television calendar: the Christmas Day ratings. And the figures released in January paint the BBC as a clear winner.

The six most popular programmes of the day were all broadcast on BBC One—led by that most Marmite of sitcoms, Mrs Brown’s Boys.

Around 6.8 million viewers—or a third of the entire television-watching public—tuned into its Christmas special. Perhaps more ‘love’ than ‘hate’, after all.

Strictly Come Dancing, Call the Midwife and EastEnders also performed strongly for the Beeb, while Jodie Whittaker made her bow as the first female Doctor Who in front of 5.7 million viewers. ITV’s Coronation Street (5.1 million viewers) and Emmerdale (3.7 million viewers) snuck into the top 10.

However, under pressure from digital streaming alternatives like Netflix and Amazon, even the most popular television shows of Christmas 2017 drew far lower audiences than years gone by. For comparison, a Wallace and Gromit Christmas broadcast in 2008 was watched by 16 million people.