So my review of the year is done now and it’s time to catch up on all this year’s Christmas TV and before the reviews I’m going to look back on the Top 20 ratings over the last fortnight. As always there’s no soaps, movies, music specials or long running shows in the Songs of Praise, Countryfile mode although I have included a festive favourite for nostalgic reasons.
1  Strictly Come Dancing (Sat 17th, BBC1)
Although this list is dominated by the programmes aired over Christmas weekend we start off with a programme that is more than two weeks old when millions of us watched Harry Judd defeat Chelsee Healey to become this year’s Gliterball Trophy winner. This was an entertaining programme full of great showdances and the return of one Russell Grant. The Christmas special also performed well but this finale outshone everything that was on over the festive period.
2 [New] Doctor Who (Sun 25th, BBC1)
The highest rated non-soap programme on Christmas Day the Narnia homage The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe did really well in an overall strong night for BBC1. Though I wasn’t big on the programme, review coming soon, it was still a very good Christmas episode with lots of nice performances and an intriguing ending for all Who fans.
3 [New] Downton Abbey (Sun 25th, ITV1)
After a brief hiatus Downton returns for a one-off special that saw the Granthams usher in a new decade as 1919 became 1920. Instead of just fobbing us off with nothing particular in the way of plots we got plenty to sink our teeth into over the two hours including the verdict in Bates’ murder trial, the news that one of the sisters was pregnant and the further adventures of Matthew and Mary plus a subplot involving guest stars Nigel Havers and Samantha Bond. Again I don’t want to give too much away as I’ll be reviewing this shortly but I have to say it performed admirably up against Eastenders and the returning Ab Fab.
4 [New] Absolutely Fabulous (Sun 25th, BBC1)
Talking of Ab Fab it’s next in the list as Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders returned as the ghastly yet utterly entertaining Patsy and Eddie. With revelations of where Saffy had been for the last two years coupled with a very funny spoof of The Killing this return didn’t let fans down and for me was one of the highlights of the Christmas schedules.
5  Merlin (Sat 17th BBC1)
I’m a little intrigued to why this episode of Merlin rated higher than the finale which aired on Christmas Eve perhaps because people were watching other things but more likely because this was wedged between the two final instalments of Strictly and people really couldn’t be bothered to turn the channel over. But then that’s doing the brilliant Merlin a disservice a programme which has really come out of itself this year and gone from strength to strength.
6 [New] The Royal Bodyguard (Mon 26th, BBC1)
Well what to say about The Royal Bodyguard? Well again you’ll just have to wait a while but the main reason why people tuned in for this sitcom must’ve been David Jason. Also as this was aired on a strong Boxing Day evening for the BBC it seemed that some people just stay put throughout. I certainly don’t think the people tuned in for the quality of this series and I think the second episode won’t do nearly as well as this first one.
7 [New] Outnumbered (Sat 24th, BBC1)
As I said in previous ratings I’m so glad to see that Outnumbered has done well in the ratings and that’s also evident here as their Christmas special became the highest rated non-soap outing on Christmas Eve. Once again this was a fairly disappointing episode for the Brockman clan who were trying to escape Britain for sunnier climes but had to endure a trip to the dentist and the hospital first.
8 [New] Mrs Brown’s Boys (Mon 26th, BBC1)
Those who stayed after The Royal Bodyguard, unfortunately I include myself in that number, must be ashamed for giving Brendan O’Carroll’s cross-dressing sitcom one of the highest ratings of the Christmas fortnight. Nothing much had changed for the Browns there was still swearing and violence and not much else to see here.
9 [New] Great Expectations (Tue 27th, BBC1)
Possibly the crowning glory in this year’s Christmas schedules was this three part adaptation of Charles Dickens’ most famous work. The appeal of this programme was seen in the fact that the ratings didn’t dip much throughout the three parts. I do think that this adaptation appealed to a young audience as didn’t feel as alienating as some costume dramas and overall I really enjoyed as you will see in my upcoming review.
10 [New] The Gruffalo’s Child (Sun 25th, BBC1)
Something for the kids here with the follow-up to 2009′s adaptation of The Gruffalo as James Corden and Robbie Coltraine returned with some laughs for the younger crowds and families as a whole as they settled in front of the telly following their Christmas dinner.
11 [New] Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow (Sun 25th, BBC1)
Ending the evening on BBC1, McIntyre bought an old-school comedy variety hour featuring among others Rob Brydon, Sean Lock and Kylie among others.
12 [New] The Queen’s Speech (Sun 25th, BBC1)
As I say this wouldn’t be a Christmas list without a word from The Queen who fails to make the Top 10 list but then 3 o’clock is a bit of an odd time for most people. But it shows how traditional the nation still is that millions of people are still loyal enough to hear her majesty’s annual message.
13 [New] Young James Herriot (Sun 18th, BBC1)
A strong start for this vet prequel but one that didn’t last long as those of you who read my judgements already know that I found this fairly drab and unremarkable something most found as the Tuesday episode lost over a million viewers from this initial number.
14 [New] Lapland (Sat 24th, BBC1)
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a festive feelgood comedy drama and that’s just what Lapland attempted to be. With its cast of familiar faces of and snowy setting this attracted a large number viewers just before they wet to be ready for the big day.
15  Have I Got News For You (Fri 23rd, BBC1)
Though it seems to have rocketed down the charts the fact that so many people still want some satirical news action means that we’re not all packed full of festive cheer and some of us just want to watch the antics of Hislop, Merton and company.
16 [New] The Borrowers (Mon 26th, BBC1)
A great family tale for the Christmas period this was an old-school tale updated for a modern audience who wanted to see a bit of teen romance and Stephen Fry mixed in with the story of the people who live under the stairs and take small objects that you won’t miss.
17 [New] Earthflight (Thur 29th, BBC1)
After the ratings winner that was Frozen Planet it seems that the BBC have left the poles and taken to the skies as they employed their usual wildlife documentary greatness to following some of the greatest flying creatures on our planet today.
18 [Re] The Cube (Sat 24th, ITV1)
In a chart that is mainly dominated by BBC programmes, ITV only get a couple of showings firstly Philip Schofield’s game show that drew in large audiences for their celebrity special on Christmas Eve.
19 [New] It’ll Be Alright on the Night (Wed 28th, ITV1)
Also back for a one-off special was this legendary bloopers show this time hosted by Gryf Rhys Jones and it seems that people will still tune in for famous faces who aren’t always prepared the first time round when a camera is in front of them.
20  Without You (Thur 22nd, ITV1)
And the chart finishes with the final episode of this disappointing Anna Friel drama which dropped about two million viewers from its debut showing. Although it still seems like an impressive feat for a show I didn’t really care for to even make an impact a fortnight packed with event telly to even feature here.
And that’s it for 2011 next up what have 2012′s ratings got in store for us?