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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 December 2006, 12:07 GMT
Vicar of Dibley tops Christmas TV
Dawn French
The first in a two-part Vicar of Dibley special was shown on BBC One
Dawn French's sitcom The Vicar of Dibley scored the highest ratings of any TV programme in the UK on Christmas Day, according to overnight estimates.

The BBC One show was seen by 11.4m viewers, compared to 10.7m for the last episode of an EastEnders double bill.

Coronation Street was third, followed by the first half of EastEnders.

The BBC's Doctor Who and Little Britain Abroad were next, but ITV1's main drama - Doc Martin - attracted only 5.3m viewers and failed to make the top 10.

CHRISTMAS DAY FIGURES
Adam Woodyatt and Wendy Richard in EastEnders
1. The Vicar of Dibley (11.4m)
2. EastEnders part two (10.7m, pictured)
3. Coronation Street (9.6m)
4. EastEnders part one (9.2m)
5. Doctor Who (8.7m)
6. Little Britain Abroad (8.4m)
7. The Queen's Christmas Message (7.6m*)
8. Strictly Come Dancing Special (7.3m)
9. Emmerdale (7.2m)
10. Strictly Come Dancing Preview (6.8m)
* BBC One and ITV1 combined
Source: BARB

These initial figures do not include viewers who recorded the programmes to watch at a later date, meaning the actual audiences are likely to be higher when the final totals are released.

The Vicar of Dibley, screened at 2130 GMT, saw romance in the air for French's chocoholic character, Geraldine Granger.

And her colleague Alice - played by Emma Chambers - became convinced she was the last living descendant of Jesus after supposedly deciphering the clues in Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code.

EastEnders concluded with the departure of actress Wendy Richard, who had played Pauline Fowler since the soap began in 1985.

The double bill was spread across the evening, with the first half at 1830 GMT and the concluding half-hour from 2100 GMT.

It beat an hour-long edition ITV1 soap Coronation Street, which saw a highly-charged Christmas lunch in the Platt household.

Christmas at the Platts' house in Coronation Street
Coronation Street saw two families joining together for Christmas lunch
The highest-rated non-terrestrial programme was BBC Three's late-night sketch show Chrissytittybangbang, with 626,000 viewers.

However, it was only 1,000 viewers ahead of the main afternoon film on Sky Movies 1, The Chronicles of Narnia.

Last year's top Christmas Day programme was EastEnders, which achieved an average audience of 10.1m.

Doctor Who and Coronation Street tied for second place in 2005, each scoring 9.8m.


SEE ALSO
A history of festive soap misery
22 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
What TV critics watch at Christmas
21 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
Dawn French to make opera debut
19 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
Tate's Christmas date with the Doctor
18 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
Dawn French calls for successors
07 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Richard 'quit soap over wedding'
07 Aug 06 |  Entertainment

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