Downton Abbey takes on Walford in Christmas Day ratings battle

It’s the series finale, a longer episode than usual, a chance to see whether or not these characters can have the happy ending that we want for them.

The ultimate ever episode of “Downton Abbey” was probably the most seen programme in Britain on Christmas day, bringing in an enormous win for broadcaster ITV.

The actor, 52 – who plays benevolent Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, in the hugely popular ITV series – told The Sun that the stars were frisked by production staff on the final day of filming.

On Christmas Day 2011, Coronation Street, EastEnders, Doctor Who and Downton Abbey attracted an average audience of 11.3 million.

Following the final episode on Friday, a special video from the cast and crew shows them filming the final moments on set, as they reflect on their time in the world of Downton.

The real ratings victor was the Queen, whose 3pm broadcast had the biggest overall figures for the day, drawing 6.1 million on the BBC and 1.1 million on ITV, excluding +1 and catch-up services.

In the past two years, BBC comedy ‘Mrs. Brown’s Boys’ was the top-rated show on Christmas Day in the overnight ratings. People ask if we knew what was going to happen when we started to make the first series and the answer is that, of course we had no idea. Not a single show broke the 7 million viewer mark this year, down from the most recent peak in 2010 when three shows – all on the BBC – each attracted more than 10 million. We think the tone of this show is hopeful enough that a depressing end is not in the cards.

The Downton finale went head to head with EastEnders, which pulled in 5.7 million viewers for the same 8.45pm slot.

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