King Charles III delivers his first Christmas message
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Millions were eager to find out what King Charles III had to say about 2022, four months after the late Queen Elizabeth II’s death. The King paid tribute to the Armed Forces and emergency workers amid widespread strike action by employees. Coming in second place, BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special attracted 5.4 million viewers.
The King broke the late Queen’s tradition of sitting in a drawing room surrounded by family pictures, instead opting to stand as he gave his speech from the King George VI Memorial Chapel.
The monarch also honoured the different faiths of the UK.
Closing his speech, he concluded: “Whatever faith you have, or whether you have none, it is in this life-giving light, and with the true humility that lies in our service to others, that I believe we can find hope for the future.
“Let us therefore celebrate it together, and cherish it always.”
The speech also saw ratings of 1.4 million for ITV, 0.93 million on BBC Two, 0.175 million on ITV3, 0.046 million on Sky News and 0.016 million on GB News.
Totalling around 10.7 million views, the speech beat last year’s figure of 7.4 million viewers who tuned into what would be the final Queen’s speech.
Aside from the King’s message, Strictly Come Dancing’s annual festival instalment topped the choice of Christmas TV for viewers.
BBC secured the top six most-watched programmes, and seven out of the top ten as audiences turned to the broadcaster across the day.
BBC One was the biggest channel of the day and grew its share year on year, commanding over a quarter of all broadcast viewing overall.
The channel also drew in the biggest share of audience than the whole SVOD market combined on Christmas Day on TV.
Charlotte Moore, BBC’s Chief Content Officer, commented: “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.”
In third place was Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Wheel, also on BBC One, which saw 4.8 million Brits watching the popular game show.
Christmas staple Call the Midwife also held its popular festive position, with 4.5 million tuned in.
Aladdin, which was shown on BBC One, saw a marginally smaller audience of 4.4 million.
In sixth place was Ghosts Christmas Special with 3.9 million viewers.
The most popular ITV show was Doc Martin, which came seventh overall with a total of 3.3 million viewers.
EastEnders’ highly-anticipated seasonal episode drew in 3.2 million, beating Coronation Street’s viewing figures of 2.8 million.
Ant and Dec were last in the top 10 list, with 2.7 million watching their ITV show.
BBC iPlayer was up 30 percent year on year in terms of streamed hours, with The King’s Christmas Speech, EastEnders’ Christmas episode and The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse from Christmas Eve the top titles.
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