The BBC soap’s festive edition – which featured downtrodden wife Zainab Khan finally standing up to her husband, Yusuf, and the revelation Phil Mitchell is being stalked by his own son, Ben – beat competition from Coronation Street and period drama Downton Abbey to claim the top ratings on Christmas day (25.12.11).
ITV’s Coronation Street had an average viewing figure of 9.3 million to take second place, followed by the Doctor Who Christmas special which claimed 8.9 million viewers.
Downton Abbey – widely expected to be the top rated programme on December 25 – slipped into fourth with 8.9 million viewers.
EastEnders’ ratings grabbing festive scheduling is not over and viewers will see another storyline climax over New Year when matriarch Pat Evans – played by Pam St. Clement – bows out of the show after 25 years as her character.
While Pat has been seen bedridden on the show, it is a closely guarded secret how she will finally exit the soap.
Speaking about her exit, Pam has said: “Leaving the EastEnders’ family will be akin to a bereavement.
“But I’m looking forward to the other work and life opportunities I will now have the time to pursue.”
Top 10 shows on Christmas Day, based on average audience
1. EastEnders, BBC One (9.9 million)
2. Coronation Street, ITV1 (9.0 million)
3. Doctor Who, BBC One (8.9 million)
4. Downton Abbey, ITV1 (8.1 million)
5. Strictly Come Dancing, BBC One (7.5 million)
6. Absolutely Fabulous, BBC One (7.4 million)
7. The Gruffalo’s Child, BBC One (6.5 million)
8. Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Comedy Roadshow, BBC One (6.4 million)
9. The Queen’s Speech, BBC One (6.3 million)
10. Emmerdale, ITV1 (6.2 million)