New Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter (as played by Danny Dyer) will make his EastEnders debut up against the Christmas Day episode of Downton Abbey.
Both shows will air at 8.30pm, which means that the latest signing to the BBC1 soap will be going toe-to-toe with ITV’s Crawley clan.
Speaking yesterday at a Bafta event, BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore said of Dyer’s performance:
“I went to the set the other day to watch Danny and he is an extraordinary presence on the set of EastEnders – it’s very exciting.
“He’s just a big, big character and bringing him into the Vic is going to change a lot of the dynamics of EastEnders – and Dominic [Treadwell-Collins], who is the new editor of EastEnders, is driving huge change.”
This year’s Christmas Day episode of EastEnders will find the Vic under new management after Shirley’s brother Mick buys the Walford boozer, while Janine (Charlie Brooks) seriously considers fleeing E20 before her past catches up with her.
ITV’s visit to Downton Abbey will see Shirley MacLaine return as Cora’s mother Martha Levinson, while Lord Grantham is joined by his troublesome brother-in-law Harold (Paul Giamatti).
When EastEnders went up against Downton Abbey over Christmas 2012, the BBC1 soap claimed victory in the consolidated ratings – EastEnders had 11.31m as compared to Downton’s 10.28m.