In the battle of the Christmas specials, BBC have been forced to back down and move their 75 minute episode of Call the Midwife, to make way for a 2 hour episode of the Julian Fellowes drama Downton Abbey. The war of the festive programming has gone five rounds, before the two channels finally came to an agreement. In fact, by the sounds of it, it’s lucky they didn’t have to draft the UN in to forge a peace agreement between them.
The Daily Mail reports today though that after “hours of negotiations,” Call the Midwife will air at 7:30pm, after ITV said that they wish Downton to start at 8:45pm. A senior member of staff at the BBC said “We wanted to avoid a clash if possible and give viewers a chance to watch both on the day if they wanted to.” So, your Christmas Day viewing schedule has finally been decided for you: Call the Midwife at 7:30pm (unless you want to watch Coronation Street, of course) and then Downton at 8:45pm (unless you want to watch Eastenders, of course). And frankly, if you’ve got a fancy TV that records programmes you’re not watching, then all of this will be of very little consequence at all.
Somewhat bizarrely, Downton Abbey’s festive special will actually be set in summer time, as Lord and Lady Grantham enjoy a holiday break with Scottish cousins at Duneagle Castle. If they haven’t got the ‘festive’ bit of the ‘festive drama,’ then you’d better keep your fingers crossed that they remembered the ‘drama.’