Big box Office

Brent wins record 6.5m audience

The long-awaited Office Christmas special was seen by 6.5 million viewers - a record for the acclaimed sitcom.

But the figures, representing 30 per cent of the total audience, might be seen as slightly disappointing for BBC1, which had otherwise dominated the festive ratings war.

In contrast, the final episode of Only Fools And Horses on Christmas Day attracted 15.5 million viewers.

The Boxing Day return of Ricky Gervais's sitcom was the top-rated show in its timeslot, beating the likes of Agatha Christie's Poirot and a Morecambe and Wise re-run.

It was the first time the show, which is currently being remade in the States, has been seen on the BBC's flagship channel. While on BBC2, the second series averaged 4.5 million viewers.

The second Christmas episode, broadcast on Saturday, averaged 5.5 million viewers.

A BBC spokeswoman said the corporation was "certainly really pleased" with The Office's ratings performance.

During prime-time hours on Christmas Day, BBC1 had up to 45 per cent of the total audience, compared to ITV1's peak at just below 30 per cent, according to unofficial overnight figures released by BARB.

Aside from Only Fools, the day's ratings were dominated by soaps. But My Family was the fifth most-watched programme, with 8.3million viewers, and Posh and Becks Big Impression attracted 6.5million.

Published: 28 Dec 2003

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