TV classics are recipe for Christmas Day delight

Posted December 11, 2006 - Press Releases

  • No, but, yeah, but it’s official – Only Fools and Horses beats Little Britain to be crowned top Christmas comedy
  • Del and Rodney as Batman and Robin is nation’s favourite festive comedy moment
  • Dirty Den serving Angie with divorce papers is greatest Christmas soap scene
  • ET kicks Star Wars into touch as the nation’s favourite festive film of all time
  • A third of the population is set to watch up to four hours of TV on Christmas Day

When it comes to Christmas Day, Brits can’t get enough of TV classics, according to a survey by Freeview, the free digital TV service. In a quest to find ‘The UK’s Ultimate Christmas Day TV Schedule’, Freeview asked the nation what programmes and films really pull their cracker on Christmas Day. And it seems turkey’s not the only tradition we like to follow at Christmas, with Britain unanimously agreeing that the 25th of December should be timeless when it comes to TV too.

Despite the recent success of modern hits such as The Office and Little Britain, the nation would much prefer to spend Christmas Day watching old favourites such as The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show (17%). Only 3% of those questioned would like to see The Office reprised for a Christmas day special; current favourites The Catherine Tate Show and Little Britain fared little better, each securing only 5% of the vote.
But it’s Del Boy and Rodney who remain the undisputed heavyweights of Christmas TV, with one in four of us wishing we could take an annual trip to Peckham for Only Fools and Horses on the 25th December. The episode where they dress up as Batman and Robin was voted the nation’s favourite Christmas comedy moment of all time, grabbing a third of all votes.

In fact, the research shows that if the UK public was in charge of Christmas Day TV scheduling, it would not contain a single new series, film or programme that has been introduced in the last 15 years!

  • Wallace and Gromit is easily the nation’s favourite Christmas animation, grabbing almost a half of the votes (46%) ahead of The Snowman (24%) and Christmas Creature Comforts (15%)
  • EastEnders wins the battle of the soaps, knocking Coronation Street into second place with 40% of viewers’ festive votes. Dirty Den serving Angie with divorce papers was also voted the most popular Christmas soap moment of all time, gaining 27% of votes
  • It’s A Wonderful Life (19%) tops the poll as the best family movie, ahead of The Wizard of Oz (16%), The Great Escape (14%) and even Mary Poppins (12%).
  • Only Fools and Horses topped the poll of comedies Brits would love to see each Christmas Day, with Del and Rodney securing a quarter of all votes, just ahead of The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show (17%) – leaving newcomers Little Britain and The Office trailing in their wake.
  • ET is the perfect film to end a Christmas Day of telly classics (26%), preferred ahead of Indiana Jones (20%), Star Wars (16%) and Back to the Future (13%)

Sophie Alexander, Head of Consumer Marketing, Freeview, comments:
“With popular programmes such as The Catherine Tate Show and Little Britain pushed aside in favour of classics from the likes of Del Boy and Rodney, our research reveals that most British families love to wallow in nostalgia on Christmas Day.
“As well as the old favourites such as Touch of Frost on ITV3, with Freeview you also get to watch brand new shows such as Torchwood on BBC Three and without the hassle of a monthly subscription.”
Finally, we may be a nation that loves our reality TV – but not on Christmas Day. Asked which Christmas programme the nation would like to evict from the 25th December schedules, two thirds of respondents (66%) wanted The Big Brother Christmas Panto chucked out in the snow. Bah humbug!
The Nation’s Ultimate Christmas Day TV Schedule

10am The Snowman – 46% of people voted for a Christmas-themed film to start their Christmas Day

11am It’s a Wonderful Life – 19% voted this Frank Capra classic as their most popular Family Film at Christmas. Perhaps significantly, men chose The Great Escape (25%) as their favourite family movie

2pm Wallace and Gromit – 46% of people voted Aardman’s loveable duo as their favourite animated Christmas TV feature

3pm ET – A quarter of the nation chose Spielberg’s 1989 smash hit as the best Christmas ‘Blockbuster’. Men meanwhile chose the more macho Indiana Jones (21%) as their favourite ‘big’ festive film

5pm Only Fools and Horses Christmas Special – 25% would take a trip to Peckham every year for a repeat of this classic Christmas Day comedy, whilst a third of Brits voted Del and Rodney’s Batman and Robin episode as the best Christmas comedy moment ever

7pm Eastenders Christmas Special – 40% of viewers felt their Christmas Day would be incomplete without the Eastenders Xmas Special.The most popular Christmas soap for men was Coronation Street (40%)

8pm Doctor Who – 34% of Brits enjoy a good drama on Christmas Day – and we don’t mean a family argument!

9pm The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special – Over half the nation (54%) enjoy a good comedy on Christmas Day, with Morecambe and Wise’s Andre Previn sketch and the immortal words, “I am playing all the right notes… but not necessarily in the right order” hitting home with 17% of the nation as the best comedy Christmas moment of all time.

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