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Merlin, Mrs Brown's Boys, Outnumbered lead strong night for BBC One

Christmas specials from Mrs Brown's Boys and Outnumbered - plus the last ever episode of Merlin - helped guide BBC One to a strong showing on Christmas Eve.

According to early overnight data, the first instalment of Mrs Brown's Boys was seen by 8.78m (36.9%), with a peak of 8.86m in the last 15 minutes of the show. The second part of the Christmas special airs on Boxing Day at 9.30pm.

Mrs Brown

© BBC Pictures

Outnumbered: Norris (MARK HEAP)

© BBC / Hat Trick/Colin Hutton

Elsewhere on BBC One, Outnumbered's Christmas special entertained 7.84m (31.4%) from 9.35pm, while the final ever episode of Merlin left 6.14m (23.4%) spellbound between 8.15pm and 9pm.

EastEnders was seen by 8.49m (32.9%) at 9pm, receiving the highest audience of all four soaps airing on Christmas Eve.

Derek crashes Tanya's Hen Do pre-party at the Salon.


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Over on ITV, Coronation Street and Emmerdale's Christmas Eve episodes drew the largest audiences to the channel, entertaining 6.8m (28.8%) and 8.27m (31.7%) respectively between 7pm and 8.30pm.

A further 188.1k viewers (0.7%) caught up with Emmerdale on ITV+1, while 378.5k (1.5%) saw Coronation Street on the timeshift channel.

Spice Girls' Story: Viva Forever!, a documentary about the band's career and the new West End musical featuring their back catalogue, was seen by 2.1m between 8.30pm and 10pm (+1: 213k, 0.9%).

'Viva Forever!' musical press night at The Piccadilly Theatre, London, Britain - 11 Dec 2012Spice Girls - Melanie Brown, Geri Halliwell, Melanie Chisholm, Emma Bunton and Victoria Beckham
11 Dec 2012

© Rex Features

BBC Two's evening of classic comedy began with an hour-long Morecambe and Wise retrospective seen by 2.35m (9.0%) at 7.30pm.

The rest of the evening was dedicated to Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett. The channel's highest audience of the evening - 3.21m (12.6%) - tuned in for an episode of Open All Hours at 8.30pm, with 3.01m (11.7%) watching the 1975 Porridge Christmas special at 9pm.

Channel 4's highest-rated show of the evening was The Snowman and the Snowdog, which enchanted 4.33m (15.9%) between 8pm and 8.30pm. A further 569.5k watched the animated sequel to The Snowman on +1.

The last episode in the current series of Peep Show amused 1.1m (4.5%) at 10pm (+1: 306.9k, 1.8%), while Friday Night Dinner's Christmas special entertained 1.16m (5.4%) at 10.30pm (+1: 226.1k, 1.7%).

Peep Show (Series 8)

© Channel 4

'Friday Night Dinner' still

© Channel 4

Channel 5's evening of factual programming was led by World's Biggest Pets in the 7pm hour (1.39m, 5.7%), with a further 119.2k (0.5%) watching on +1. Eddie Stobart's Christmas Cracker was seen by 1.24m ( 4.9%) at 9pm, plus a further 102.5k (0.4%) on +1.

Disney Pixar movie Ratatouille entertained 1.02m (4.0%) at 8.30pm on BBC Three.

BBC One had the largest primetime audience share between 7pm and 11pm at 25.3%, followed by ITV1 with 15.7%.

BBC Two finished in third place with a 9.8% primetime audience share, followed by Channel 4 on 7.6% and Channel 5 on 4%.

BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional
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