The King Charles Christmas broadcast was the most-watched Christmas television address by a monarch ever, with the BBC claiming a festive victory in viewership over streaming rivals such as Netflix.
A record 10.6 million viewers watched it Charles broadcast on BBC One, BBC Two and ITV, making it the most watched program on Christmas Day.
It is also the most popular Christmas Day broadcast by a King in the past two decades as records were held by official television ratings that monitor audience levels.
The broadcast was watched by an average of 8.1 million viewers BBC One, with 1.58 million tune-ins on ITV and 929,000 views on BBC Two, which included sign language.
Charles addressed the nation from St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where the commissioning service for his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was held three months ago and where she delivered her Christmas message in 1999.
In the eight-minute message, Charles pays tribute to his mother and talks about the cost of living crisis gripping the nation, along with footage of food banks and meals being distributed to those in need.
Viewings on Christmas Day were again dominated by the BBC, with Strictly Come Dancing Christmas taking honors as the most watched show of the day, attracting an average of 5.4 million viewers.
Seven of the top 10 most watched programs on Christmas Day were broadcast by the BBC – ITV broadcast the other three – with the company claiming a Christmas Day victory over rivals including Netflix.
The company said BBC One, the UK’s most popular channel, attracted more viewers on Christmas Day than viewers who chose to watch its subscription video-on-demand service.
“At a time of so much competition and choice, the BBC continues to be the UK’s entertainment destination on Christmas Day,” said Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s chief content officer.
The company said viewership across BBC iPlayer was up 30% year-on-year over the weekend, with The King’s Speech and EastEnders proving the most popular programs on Christmas Day.
Most watched programs on Christmas Day
1. The King’s Christmas Broadcast, BBC One, 8.1 million
2. Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, BBC One, 5.4 million
3. Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Wheel, BBC One, 4.8 million
4. Call the midwife, BBC One, 4.5 million
5. Aladdin, BBC One, 4.4 million
6 Ghosts Christmas Special, BBC One, 3.9 million
7. Doc Martin, ITV 3.3 million
8. EastEnders, BBC One, 3.2 million
9. Coronation Street. ITV 2.8 million
10. Ant and Dec, ITV, 2.7 million
“Freelance entrepreneur. Communicator. Gamer. Explorer. Pop culture practitioner.”