A first for Mrs Brown as show tops Irish and UK festive ratings
BRENDAN O'Carroll has become the first Irish television personality to triumph in the Christmas top spot in both Ireland and the UK.
Christmas Day figures released by RTE reveal that the earthy comedy 'Mrs Brown's Boys -- Buckin' Mammy' garnered 832,000 viewers, or almost half the primetime market share, at nearly 44pc.
It was the third year in a row that O'Carroll topped the Christmas TV ratings for Irish viewers.
In the UK, the show toppled 'Eastenders' from its perennial seasonal hotspot, pulling in a staggering audience of 9.4 million viewers on BBC One.
O'Carroll has previously revealed that his hit show is based on the character of his mother, Maureen O'Carroll, Ireland's first female TD, who campaigned against domestic violence and against high prices in the aftermath of World War II.
O'Carroll beat off competition from 'Downton Abbey', 'Dr Who' and the soaps to gain the British top spot. It was the first year the BBC scheduled 'Mrs Brown's Boys' for the prime-time Christmas Day slot.
The stormy weather affected the Christmas viewership data compiled by Nielsen, with RTE explaining that it will not have figures for St Stephen's Day until Monday "at the earliest" while TV3 said its figures for its entire Christmas schedule will not be available until next week.
However, TV3 released separate annual figures showing that 'Christmas Toys' -- its rival to the 'Late Late Show's' 'Toy Show' on RTE -- was a ratings winner for the channel, with 325,900 people tuning in.
According to RTE, eight of the 10 most-watched programmes across all channels on Christmas Day were on RTE Television.
The second spot after 'Mrs Brown's Boys' went to the network premiere of 'Bridesmaids' on RTE One at 10.05pm, with an average of 455,700 people watching the movie.
This again illustrated the staggering popularity of O'Carroll's show -- demonstrating that half of the 'Mrs Brown's Boys' viewers switched off directly after the programme.
Next popular was 'Fair City' on RTE One, followed by 'Coronation Street' on TV3 and 'Eastenders' on RTE One.
In the UK, 'Dr Who' came second in the ratings with an average of 8.3 million viewers.