King Charles’ Christmas broadcast was the most-watched televised Christmas address by a monarch in history, as the BBC claimed a festive viewing victory over streaming rivals such as Netflix.
A record 10.6 million viewers watched it Charles’ broadcast on BBC One, BBC Two and ITV, making it the most watched program at Christmas.
It is also the most popular Christmas broadcast by a monarch in the two decades in which official TV ratings records tracking audience levels have been kept.
An average of 8.1 million viewers watched the show on BBC One, with 1.58 million watching on ITV and 929,000 watching on BBC Two, which included sign language.
Charles addressed the nation from St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where his late mother Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral service was held three months ago and where she delivered a Christmas message in 1999.
In the eight-minute message, Charles paid tribute to his mother and addressed the cost of living crisis gripping the nation, along with footage of food banks and food being distributed to those in need.
Christmas viewing was again dominated by the BBC, with Christmas special Strictly Come Dancing taking the honors as the most watched show of the day, attracting an average of 5.4 million viewers.
Seven of the 10 most-watched shows on Christmas Day were broadcast by the BBC – the other three were broadcast by ITV – with the corporation claiming a Christmas triumph over streaming rivals including Netflix.
The corporation said that BBC One, the UK’s most popular channel, attracted more viewers on Christmas Day than the number of viewers who chose to watch a subscription video-on-demand service.
“At a time of so much competition and choice, the BBC continues to be the UK’s entertainment destination at Christmas,” said Charlotte Moore, chief content officer at the BBC.
The corporation said BBC iPlayer viewing was up 30% year-on-year over the weekend, with The King’s Speech and EastEnders proving to be the most popular programs on Christmas Day.
The most watched programs of Christmas
1. The King’s Christmas Broadcast, BBC One, 8.1 million
2. Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, BBC One, 5.4 million
3. Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Wheel, BBC One, 4.8 million
4. Call the Midwife, BBC One, 4.5 million
5. Aladdin, BBC One, 4.4 million
6 Ghosts Christmas Special, BBC One, 3.9 million
7. Doc Martin, ITV, 3.3 million
8. EastEnders, BBC One, 3.2 million
9. Coronation Street, ITV, 2.8 million
10. Ant and Dec, ITV, 2.7 million
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