One of the great joys of Christmas Day – besides the food, the presents and the endless games with the family that end in tears – is the brilliant TV schedule.
This year house-bound folks, and let’s face it, that’s most of us, will be able to watch Christmas specials from our favourite shows like Call The Midwife, Doctor Who, The Great British Bake Off and EastEnders.
But it might entertain you to learn of some of these rather impressive Christmas TV facts: how many did you already know?
1. The biggest Christmas Day TV audience in history was recorded in 1989 when 21.8 million watched the premiere of the film Crocodile Dundee.
2. The largest single audience for a television programme is 21.4 million, set by The Mike Yarwood Show on Christmas Day in 1977.
3. Only Fools And Horses has topped the Christmas Day ratings eight times: from 1990 to 1993, in 1996, and from 2001 to 2003.
4. Only Fools And Horses is also the most-watched Christmas Day programme of this century, attracting 21.3 million viewers in 2001.
5. Soap operas such as EastEnders and Coronation Street have sometimes claimed audiences of up to 30 million on Christmas Day, but these figures have been calculated by including repeat showings on subsequent days.
6. The size of the average TV audience on Christmas Day has fallen sequentially from 18.5 million in the 1980s to 17.4 million in the 1990s, 14.8 million in the 2000s, and 9.7 million this decade.
7. A televised message from the Queen was first shown on Christmas Day in 1957. It has since been broadcast every year except in 1963, when the Queen was pregnant with Prince Edward, and in 1969 when its place was taken by the fly-on-the-wall documentary The Royal Family.
8. A James Bond film has been broadcast on ITV on Christmas Day a total of 12 times. The first occasion was in 1978 with Diamonds Are Forever.
9. Christmas Day has not always been treated by TV channels as a chance to replace their usual schedule with seasonal specials and one-offs. In 1963, ITV broadcast the natural history series Zoo Time, spelling quiz Take A Letter and a 30-minute regional news programme.