THE Hogmanay celebrations will be helped along with a double blast from the past this year as Scotland's rival TV stations vie for viewers.

Gary Glitter will strut his stuff for BBC Scotland's Hogmanay Live show being beamed around the country from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle.

In the Grampian corner - which is being screened on Scottish - Eric Falconer's Bay City Rollers will help bring in the New Year with a rendition of Flower of Scotland and a medley of traditional Andy Stewart numbers.

If viewers have difficulty choosing between these two treats, spare a thought for those south of the Border.

BBC1 viewers outside Scotland will only join in the traditional festivities 10 minutes into 1996, having to make do until then with Angus Deayton and his End of Year Show.

But sassenachs holidaying in the north can tune into the Have I Got News For You presenter's droll tones on BBC2 Scotland from 11pm until it too merges with the Edinburgh Hogmanay show at 12.10am.

Former lottery presenter Gordon Kennedy will co-present BBC1's Scottish show with Lorraine Kennedy, and as well as Gary Glitter, their guest list includes Eddie Reader and Big Country.

A spokesman for BBC Scotland said last night: ``It promises to be a great night and the whole country will be coming into our Edinburgh show just after the bells.''

The Grampian programme, from Aberdeenshire's Haddo House, will only link-up with regional stations in England and Wales for four minutes before and four minutes after the bells.

They will see Art Sutter and Janice Forsyth present the live party from the great hall of Lady Aberdeen's ancestral home which is now run by the National Trust.

A spokesman for Grampian said Big Country would be playing in the run-up to the bells with live music from folk singer Carol Laula.

``Haddo House's own bell will bring in the New Year, followed by fireworks and then everybody at the party will go crazy,'' said the spokesman.

``It will be a wild ceilidh atmosphere after midnight, with dancing and some great music.''

Meanwhile, the BBC appears to have beaten ITV in the battle of the Christmas Day ratings.

According to BBC insiders, early viewing figures show that grumpy Victor Meldrew has again topped the ratings charts with around 16.8 million people tuning in for the episode of One Foot In The Grave.

The concluding half of a two-part EastEnders special was close behind with 16.1 million viewers and suburban snob Hyacinth Bucket attracted 16 million fans in Keeping Up Appearances.

Despite the pre-Christmas hype and rivalry, ITV managed to boast only one programme in the top 10, it is claimed.

Christmas in Coronation Street is in sixth place with 11.8 million viewers, although these preliminary figures do not take into account video recordings or repeats.

The first part of EastEnders attracted 14.3 million, and the Christmas Day film Hook pulled in 12.1 million.

Overall, the BBC had 54% of total viewing figures, with ITV attracting just 25% of audiences, according to the source.

Four times as many people watched the Queen deliver her Christmas message to the nation on BBC1 as on ITV, making a total of 13.7 million viewers.

A BBC insider said yesterday: ``Despite ITV's best efforts the BBC has once again grabbed the lion's share of audience figures, showing we are the viewers' ideal Christmas companion.''

An ITV spokeswoman said: ``Traditionally the BBC does beat us on Christmas Day, but we scored a minor victory on Christmas Eve this year when ITV ended up with a 37% share of the audience compared with the BBC on 30%.''

ITV network director Marcus Plantin welcomed the figures.

``The BBC always keeps its top programming for the Christmas period and last year BBC1 claimed 53% of the audience on Christmas Eve.

``I'm delighted that we have more than just given them a run for their money this year. So far the honours are shared. Over the first two days of Christmas it's 1-1,'' he said.