Fears that festive episodes of hit dramas Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife will be screened opposite each other have been allayed.
Schedulers have confirmed that Call the Midwife will be broadcast on Christmas Day at 7.30pm on BBC1, while Downton Abbey will be shown later in the evening at 8.45pm on ITV1.
Speaking in November at a screening of the Call the Midwife special, series star Jessica Raine said: “I don’t think they’ll ever put us head-to-head. I think that would be so stupid. I love Downton and I don’t see it as competition.”
ITV had previously announced back in November that Downton Abbey would air at 9pm. But it will now begin at the earlier time of 8.45pm, where it will have EastEnders (8.45pm) and The Royle Family (9.45pm) as competition on BBC1. Call the Midwife will now be shown opposite Coronation Street (7.30pm) and the ITV News (8.30pm).
In 2011, consolidated ratings (which include those who had recorded and watched programmes after Christmas Day) showed that Downton Abbey was the most-watched programme of the Christmas period with an audience of 11.6m. EastEnders was in second place with 11.3m, Doctor Who finished third with 10.8m, while Coronation Street was in fourth place with 10.5m viewers.