BBC wins Christmas Day ratings war

'Gromit,' 'Doctor Who' Christmas special score big

LONDON -- The BBC ended up on top of the Christmas tree over the festive season, scoring nine of the top 10 highest-rated shows on Christmas Day.

"Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death" attracted 14.3 million viewers, making it the highest-rated show of the entire year, as more than 53% of the Christmas Day audience tuned in to watch the ever-faithful Gromit rescue Wallace from the amorous clutches of murderous bun-making seductress Piella Bakewell.

BBC1's "Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special" earned 8.6 million and a 35% share while the "Doctor Who" Christmas special attracted 11.7 million viewers and a 51% share for an episode that featured David Morrissey as a character who thought he was a new Time Lord.

ITV soap "Coronation Street" was the commercial network's top performer, scoring 7.4 million viewers but was trounced by the BBC's own Christmas edition of "EastEnders," which garnered 11.5 million viewers.

According to figures from U.K. ratings agency BARB, the BBC scored 34.2% of the Christmas Day audience compared with ITV's 17%. But there was good news for broadcasters overall, with the number of viewers watching at peak time increasing from 23.8 million last year to 24.4 million in 2008.
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