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'Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Special' was the most-watched TV show on December 25th, pulling in an average of 9.4 million viewers.

The popular BBC One sitcom - which stars Brendan O'Carroll as the matriarchal Agnes Brown - edged out the Doctor Who Christmas Special, which recorded 8.3 million viewers on the same channel.

mrs browns boys

However, 'Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor' featured the most-watched moment, as the incumbent Matt Smith was replaced by Peter Capaldi in the title role.

Some 10.2 million viewers watched the five-minute regeneration sequence at the end of the episode.

BBC One claimed eight of the top ten most-watched programmes on Christmas Day, with ITV's highest entrant being 'Coronation Street' in third place.

The Christmas episode of the soap opera pulled in an average of 7.9 million, meaning it won the battle with fourth-placed 'Eastenders', which achieved 7.8 million.

In fifth in the ratings chart was the 'Queen's Christmas broadcast' - which was aired on both BBC One & ITV simultaneously.

Some 7.5 million viewers tuned in to watch the annual message to the nation, delivered by Queen Elizabeth II.

BBC One's 'Call The Midwife' came next in the Top 10 with 7.1 million viewers, while the Christmas special of 'Downton Abbey' was watched by 6.6 million on ITV.

'Toy Story 3' proved to be the top-ranking film on Christmas Day, with the BBC One airing of the Pixar hit pulling in 6.3 million viewers.

TV ratings may be way down on those seen in decades past, when episodes of the most popular programmes pulled in audiences of 20 million or more.

But the reason for this is clear - the rise of satellite and digital TV, and the significant increase in viewing options over the past two decades.

Households that sign up for Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk or BT TV services can watch programmes on a host of channels through their set-top box - or even enjoy on-demand/catch-up content at their convenience.

Even Freeview watchers can choose between multiple channels throughout the day, making TV viewing habits very different to 25 years ago.

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