The BBC has moved the time of the Christmas special episode of their award winning period drame, Call the Midwife, to fend off competition from ITV1. 

National holidays have become a time for which families come and sit together to eat and watch hours upon hours of television. As the religious significance of Christmas continues to be eroded by the alternate shrine, one devoted to mass production and celebrity, it is of course the prime concern of all networks to make sure they draw in as many millions of people as possible, and to guarantee the top quality broadcasting on Christmas day and the days that surround it. Therefore it's necessary for the BBC to move Call the Midwife, ensuring that there's no clash with the ITV... tour de force, Downton Abbey, reports the Telegraph.

The BBC timing had already accommodated the parallel period drama from ITV, opting to broadcast it at a fairly early time of 7:45pm until 9pm, with Downton starting at 9pm. However, in a late move, ITV chose to pull Downton forward by 15 minutes to 8:45pm, meaning that viewers would be forced either to miss the final section of Call the Midwife, which stars Miranda Hart, or miss the opening of Downton. A very crafty tactic by ITV to steal some viewers. However, the BBC has chosen to move their show again, likewise moving it forward by 15 minutes.

A BBC spokesperson said: "ITV always said they would show Downton Abbey at 9pm, then changed at the last minute. Last year there was a lot of hype around the Downton special but now the attention is on Call The Midwife because it is our first Christmas episode, so perhaps they're worried about that. But we wanted to avoid a clash because it would do viewers no favours."