Queen's tribute to Prince Philip was the most watched Christmas Day TV

Queen’s moving tribute to Prince Philip was the most watched Christmas Day TV with 7.4M viewers tuning in to her broadcast – and millions more streaming online

  • Queen’s speech, broadcast on BBC and ITV, was watched by 7.4million viewers
  • Strictly Come Dancing’s Christmas special claimed the next highest viewership
  • Won by Anne-Marie, 5.8million people tuned in to watch the BBC’s dance show 

The Queen’s Speech was the most watched programme on Christmas Day, beating out Strictly Come Dancing and Call the Midwife.

In total, 7.4million viewers tuned in to listen to the Queen deliver her first Christmas speech since the death of Prince Philip in April this year.

The broadcast, which was around 10 minutes long and was one of the most emotional speeches the monarch has ever given, saw her reflect on the events of the year including the loss of her husband and the continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Strictly Come Dancing’s Christmas special proved a ratings hit, claiming the most viewers outside of the Queen’s festive message.

In her speech, the monarch described that there was ‘one familiar laugh missing’ during the festive season this year as she made her most fulsome public tribute to her husband of 73 years and the nation’s longest-serving consort since his death in April aged 99.

The Queen paid an emotional tribute to her late husband Prince Philip in her Christmas message this year, while sitting beside a framed picture of the royal couple (pictured)

Wearing the sapphire brooch she donned on her honeymoon in 1947 and again for her diamond wedding anniversary, the 95-year-old head of state also reached out to families who have lost loved one this year and addressed the Covid crisis. 

The Queen sat behind a desk adorned with a solitary photograph of the Queen and the duke in 2007 to mark their 60th wedding anniversary as she spoke to the nation from the White Drawing Room in Windsor Castle.

She also spoke fondly of her eldest son Charles and his wife Camilla, and also of William and Kate, for their climate activism. Just a tacit mention was made to Lilibet Diana, Harry and Meghan’s daughter, as one of four great-grandchildren born this year.

But there was no reference – either on screen or by name during the nine-minute broadcast – to Andrew, Harry or Meghan, the trio having stepped back from royal duties as the House of Windsor faces its most severe crisis since arguably the 1990s.

The Strictly special, which was won by pop star Anne-Marie, was watched by an average of 5.8 million viewers, according to overnight figures from the BBC.

The 30-year-old singer and her professional dance partner Graziano Di Prima were victorious after performing a thrilling cha cha, which earned them a perfect score of 40 from the judges. 

In total, 5.8million viewers tuned in to watch the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special

BBC One secured eight of the top 10 programmes on Christmas Day – with ITV taking eighth and ninth place with episodes of Coronation Street and Emmerdale. 

Third place went to Call The Midwife with 4.7 million viewers, Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Wheel secured 4.6 million and was fourth, while Blankety Blank took fifth with 4.2 million.

Sixth place was taken by Mary Poppins Returns, the 2018 sequel to the well-loved 1964 film, with 3.7 million viewers, while animated production Superworm was in seventh with 3.34 million.

On ITV, Coronation Street secured 3.25 million viewers and Emmerdale was watched by 3 million.

In 10th place, the festive EastEnders special had an audience of 2.9 million.

BBC One sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys, which usually secures high audience numbers, did not feature in the top 10.

The Christmas Special of Call the Midwife grabbed third spot with a total of 4.7million viewers

Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s chief content officer, said: ‘Viewers chose the BBC on Christmas Day and entertained them in their millions, with Strictly taking the top spot.

‘Nothing brings the country together at Christmas quite like the BBC, there was something for everyone with the seven most popular programmes across the day that caps off a brilliant year on the BBC, celebrating British creativity where we have delivered hits and award winning work and seen huge audiences come to our shows.

‘It’s these moments, in a time of intense competition, that prove that after 99 years the BBC matters more than ever.

‘We have an ambitious and exciting year ahead in 2022 to mark our centenary year with an unmissable range of world class content that will celebrate and reflect the unique role the BBC continues to play in the lives of audiences across the UK.’

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