- Mrs Brown’s boys is a comedy starring Brendan O’Carroll as Agnes Brown, the Irish mother of six who can’t help interfering in their lives. The show started out as a radio play before O’Carroll wrote a series of books about the character. Mrs Brown’s Boys has been extremely successful in the theatre, but is best known for the television sitcom which first aired in 2011. Several Christmas specials have already been aired (the special in 2015 attracted 9.49 million viewers), and the show has become one of the nation’s favourites.
- Strictly Come Dancing has been a BBC One hit since it was first aired in 2004, and features celebrities pairing up with professional dance partners to see which one of them manages to fare best. The show has enjoyed very good viewing figures from the start, and is as popular with as many children and teens as it is with the older generation. The 2015 Christmas Day show attracted 8.54 million viewers.
- The Great Christmas Bake Off is a festive special edition of popular show, which has been running since 2010. Here, amateur bakers compete against each other and, although the show started out on BBC Two, it proved so successful that it shifted to BBC One. The show will air on Channel 4 for the next three years, but The Great Christmas Bake Off will be aired on BBC One and it will be the last time that Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins will appear together. Only Hollywood has signed up for the Channel 4 series.
- Call the Midwife is a period drama about a group of midwives which stars Miranda Hart. The first episode of the show aired on BBC One in 2012, and it has now run for five seasons, with four specials. Last December it was announced that there would be a 2016 Christmas special and a sixth season in 2017, and just last month it was additionally announced that three more seasons have been commissioned, a telling indicator of how successful the show has been. The 2015 Christmas Day broadcast of this show attracted 9.30 million viewers.
- EastEnders should need no introduction, having been a popular BBC One soap opera since its launch in 1985. The show has established a tradition of giving the nation some of its most dramatic storylines over the festive season, with the most famous being Den Watts giving his wife Angie divorce papers on Christmas Day in 1986. That iconic moment attracted more than 30 million viewers, which is still the most that the show has ever had. Eastenders has always pulled out all of the stops for Christmas, and last year’s show attracted 7.66 million viewers.
- Other contenders for the Top Christmas Day TV Programme include the Queen’s Speech, the movie Frozen, Coronation Street, Doctor Who and Top of the Pops, to name just a few.
Last year’s top Christmas Day TV programme was Downton Abbey, which was broadcast on ITV, but that show has ended and therefore the commercial channel won’t be able to repeat the feat this year. The BBC holds all of the aces this time around, and we think that Mrs Brown’s Boys, the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special and Call the Midwife are the mostly likely programmes to achieve the lion’s share of viewers on Christmas Day.
Which one of those shows will win the contest is harder to call. It can be argued that Strictly Come Dancing appeals to the widest demographic, and that period drama Call the Midwife is the closest thing to a Downton Abbey that will be on our screens this year, but Mrs Brown’s Boys is the show that offers the most humour, and so we will side with the Irish Mammy to get the best viewing figures.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip – Mrs Brown’s Boys – 7/4
*Please note, odds may fluctuate in the run-up to Christmas.