Gavin And Stacey the most viewed Christmas Day show in a decade

Photo: BBC

The much-anticipated return of TV's Gavin And Stacey achieved the best Christmas Day viewing figures for more than a decade.

The episode, broadcast on BBC One, was watched by an average 11.6 million people, making it the biggest festive special since 2008.

It secured 49.2% of the total viewing audience during its slot, according to the BBC.

The episode picked up 10 years after the previous instalment of the comedy series, allowing viewers to catch up on the world of titular couple Gavin and Stacey (played by Matthew Horne and Joanna Page) as well as Smithy and Nessa (James Corden and Ruth Jones).

It ended on a cliffhanger, with a marriage proposal involving two major characters left unanswered.

The BBC said the next most-watched programme, with 7.85 million, was the Queen's Christmas broadcast - screened on the BBC, ITV and Sky.

Strictly Come Dancing, EastEnders and Michael McIntyre's Big Show - all on BBC One - rounded out this year's top five shows.

The overnight figures do not include viewers who watch programmes later on catch-up services.

Gavin And Stacey first aired in 2007 and ran for three series.

But its return this year has not been without controversy.

The BBC was forced to defend the decision to use the uncensored version of The Pogues' classic Christmas song Fairytale Of New York in the episode.

It features the cast singing along to the track, which includes the homophobic slur "faggot".

LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell told The Times newspaper that the move would "send completely the wrong signal" and "give comfort to homophobes everywhere".

Sky News

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