A matriarch with a family all about as different as can be but home together for Christmas. It's guaranteed to pull in the punters at Christmas and it did just that. Yep, the Christmas Day ratings were a battle to the last between the Queen and Mrs Brown's Boys. And in the end, the cardie and the car wash Christmas tree had to drop a small curtsey and make way for a right royal line up in our most watched shows on Christmas Day.
The Queen's Christmas Day Speech topped the ratings overall with 7.6 million people tuning in to see it on BBC One, ITV and Sky when it was broadcast simultaneously across those channels at 3pm on Christmas Day. The BBC took the biggest chunk of those viewers with 5.9 million choosing to watch it there. You could split hairs and say that Agnes from Dublin had the biggest single audience as Mrs Brown's Boys took 6.8 million for its Christmas Day special on BBC One but let's keep it regal and go with aggregates. That makes Elizabeth from London the outright winner but she had royal competition in the telly stakes this year.
Yep, Camilla didn't just get to share the Queen's car on the way to church at Sandringham on Christmas Day, she also got to share the regal TV ratings bragging rights, too. The Duchess of Cornwall featured in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special on BBC One which took 6.5 million viewers. Camilla was seen hosting a special dance at Buckingham Palace for the National Osteoporosis Society, a charity close to her heart and of which she is patron. The film of the event, held to promote the importance of staying active, wasn't just a highlight of the programme, it was a highlight of the day. We got a rather lovely few minutes of our favourite Strictly dancers twirling those helped by the society around the regal floor before the crowning glory of the whole show - Camilla dancing with Craig Revel Horwood. Cams is one nifty mover but also gave us a piece of TV magic when she warned her pal, Craig, not to try any big lifts on her and he called her 'darling'. What's not to love?
More royal headliners, too, in the top ten most watched programmes on Christmas Day as the BBC One news took 4.2 million for its early evening edition with a very royal dominated running order. The Queen's Speech featured heavily as did the Royal Family's appearance at Sandringham as they went to church on Christmas Day. The images of a certain Meghan Markle walking arm in arm with her fiance, Prince Harry, and side by side with her future sister in law, the Duchess of Cambridge, dominated the news everywhere yesterday and no doubt helped pull in a few more viewers as the day came to an end. The ITV evening news took 2.9 million viewers.
One big royal surprise of the day was the audience for the first Christmas special of ITV's Victoria. Heavily trailed in advance, the two hour special won critical acclaim but an audience of just 2.74 million and only just squeaked into the top 20 most watched shows of the day. Star Jenna Coleman's fleeting appearance in the Doctor Who Christmas special took double that number of viewers, with a peak audience of 5.7 million tuning in to see Jodie Whittaker become the first female incarnation of the Time Lord. These overnight figures don't include people watching online or on catch up services and royal flavoured shows like The Crown on Netflix may well have enjoyed mega audiences on Christmas Day too - given the popularity of that platform's specially made fictional A Christmas Prince then we get yet more confirmation that just about anything with a royal theme is box office telly right now. And top of the tree once more is the Queen. Well, what else do you expect from a very royal Christmas?
Photo credit: BBC still, Royal Family Instagram, Clarence House Twitter