Downton vs the Midwife at Christmas: ITV and BBC dramas will clash in big day's rating battle
The two shows are due to overlap for 15 minutes on Christmas Day
Call the Midwife's 75-minute festive special is due to start at 8pm, while Downton Abbey will be broadcast at 9pm
01:29 GMT, 27 November 2012
Get set to press record. Two of our favourite TV shows could be battling it out on Christmas Day.
At 8pm, Call the Midwife fans will settle down to watch a 75-minute festive special on BBC1.
Downton Abbey viewers will be switching on to ITV at 9pm.
And if you want to watch both There will be a 15-minute clash in which you won’t know which way to turn – unless you have a recorder.
Head-to-head: BBC's Call the Midwife, featuring Jessica Raine, as midwife Jenny Lee, right, will battle it out with ITV's Downton Abbey, starring Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary, left, on Christmas Day
Both dramas have pulled in some of the highest ratings of the year.
EastEnders and Coronation Street, which usually broadcast specials on Christmas Day, have suffered dwindling audiences in the past 12 months.
Instead, viewers have fallen for the charm of Call the Midwife, which features Vanessa Redgrave, Miranda Hart, and Jenny Agutter, and was a surprise success for the BBC when the first series aired in January.
Downton Abbey, which has just completed its third series, remains a firm favourite with fans both here and in the US.
Call the Midwife is based on the late
Jennifer Worth’s memoirs about midwifery in London’s East End in the
1950s, and pulled in more than 8.5million viewers a week.
Christmas special: Lord and Lady Grantham, second and third from left, will go on holiday to Scotland in the festive episiode
Ratings winner: Call the Midwife – based on Jennifer Worth's memoirs about midwifery in London's East End in the 1950s – was a surprise hit
In the festive special, viewers will see a heart-wrenching story tackling teen pregnancy, the horrors of the workhouse, and child mortality.
In contrast, Downton Abbey will be in summer holiday mode for its Christmas special.
Lord and Lady Grantham will be enjoying a summer break with their Scottish cousins at Duneagle Castle, accompanied by servants Bates, Anna, and O’Brien.
This is the home of Lady Rose, played by newcomer Lily James, who was sent home in the last episode of series three after her dalliance with a married man.
There is a suggestion of new romance for Lady Edith and even cook Mrs Patmore, and more arguments for Matthew and Mary.
A BBC insider said the final touches were still being made to the Christmas schedule, adding: ‘We are still finalising schedules and will avoid any overlap if we can.’
Other festive season highlights on the BBC include a Doctor Who special and an episode of the comedy Miranda.
That means viewers will have a double helping of Miss Hart at Christmas.
Heart-breaking: Viewers of Call the Midwife, featuring Jenny Agutter as Sister Julienne, will see difficult stories about teen pregnancies and child mortality
Newcomer: The Christmas special will also continue the story of Lady Rose, played by Lily James, pictured, who was sent home in the last episode