Not even the British Comedy Awards on ITV1 could tear viewers away from BBC One’s Christmas Champion of Champions, hosted by twinkle-toed Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daley.
The live show, which raised £1m for Children in Need, pulled in 8.4 million and over 36% of viewers during its first hour at 8pm, with 9m – nearly 40% - tuning in to watch the results at 10pm, which saw EastEnder star Jill Halfpenny triumph over the first series’ winner, BBC News presenter Natasha Kaplinsky.
In comparison, ITV1’s coverage of the Comedy Awards, hosted by Jonathon Ross, brought in just 5.7 million viewers, a quarter of the TV audience, between 9pm and 10.30pm.
However, the second half of the awards ceremony, shown after the ITV news, proved more popular, attracting the majority of those still awake – 33% compared to 10.6% watching BBC One’s Tony Pappano: A Year at the Opera and 11.5% for Five’s World’s Worst Drivers 3.
The What Not to Wear Christmas Special, featuring ruthless fashion advisers Trinny and Susannah, proved another winner for BBC One, attracting 7.2 million viewers sandwiched between the two Strictly Come Dancing programmes at 9pm.
But ITV1 ruled the early evening with its soap double bill of Emmerdale and Coronation Street.
Emmerdale notched up a 41.4% share at 7pm with 8.4 million viewers while the Christmas warm-up in the Street pulled in the biggest audience of the evening with 10.4m viewers – a 47.6% share.
By Julia Martin