For the second year running, nine out of 10 of the highest-rated TV shows were delivered by BBC One, with ratings hitting nearly 11 million for EastEnders, which drew the largest audience of the day, taking 45.9% share of the audience – although this was less than the 14.3 million who watched the top-rated Wallace & Gromit adventure last year.

The EastEnders special was the usual mix of murder, abuse and unremitting misery, featuring a plot centred on half of Albert Square linked to the killing of villain du jour Archie Mitchell.

The second most watched show was the Christmas special of The Royle Family, with 10.2 million, followed by Doctor Who just behind on 10 million – this was less, though, than the 11.7 million who watched the show last year and the 12.2 million who viewed Kylie Minogue take a cameo role in 2007’s Christmas special.

The top five was completed by Gavin and Stacey, with 9.2 million, and the adaptation of the much-loved children’s book The Gruffalo with 8.8 million.

Strictly Come Dancing failed to perform as well as had been expected, being only the eighth biggest Christmas show, drawing 6.79 million, down two million on last year.

Strictly’s failure may well be due to Coronation Street fighting its way into the Top Ten to take the sixth spot, in a vain attempt to spare ITV’s blushes. The ITV1 soap attracted 7.9 million viewers, a 32% audience share.

Coronation Street beat BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, with an average of 7.9 million viewers compared to 6.8 million. Catherine Tate: Nan’s Xmas Carol also made the list.

BBC1 took 31.3% audience share throughout the day, compared with 34.2% last year, although this was still significantly higher than that of ITV1, with 18.8%.

In peak time, from 6pm to 10.30pm, BBC1 fared even worse in year-on-year figures, however, with a 39.5% share, compared with 43.7% last year – though, again, this still easily trumped 20.1%.

The ratings losses are a big blow for ITV, which had twelve months to pull its Christmas Day socks up, after being roundly trounced by the BBC’s festive viewing figures last year.

BBC One Controller Jay Hunt said: “I am thrilled that BBC One continues to be the channel of choice for Christmas day viewing. The range and variety of our line up this year offered something for all audiences to enjoy.”

“The BBC’s commitment to providing the best possible viewing can be seen in these audience figures,” BBC Director of Vision Jana Bennett added.

“Alongside great performances from BBC One and BBC Two I am particularly delighted that BBC HD’s performance continues to go from strength to strength”