BBC forced to move Call The Midwife to avoid Downton Christmas Day clash – Daily TV round-up

ITV accused of 'dirty tricks' by shifting the Christmas Day schedules at the last minute

ITV reportedly moved the Christmas Day episode of 'Downton Abbey' at the last minute, forcing the BBC to shift the scheduling of the 'Call The Midwife' Christmas special to avoid a clash.

Downton... forced BBC to move Call The Midwife (Copyright: ITV)

The move has found ITV accused of a 'dirty tricks' campaign.

'Call The Midwife' will now go out on BBC1 at 7.30pm to 8.45pm, while 'Downton Abbey' will now start at 8.45pm on ITV1.

Fans of both shows had previously voiced their anger over a potential clash, which was thought to have been avoided after it was agreed that 'Call The Midwife' would be broadcast from 7.45pm to 9pm.

A source at the BBC told the Daily Telegraph that '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,” the source added. “But we wanted to avoid a clash because it would do viewers no favours.”

[Related story: Julian Fellowes to create 'American Downton']


The two-hour installment of 'Downton' will now clash with 'EastEnders' and the Royle Family Christmas special instead.

Jessica Raine, who plays the lead role of nurse Jenny Lee in 'Call The Midwife', had branded any possibility of a schedule clash 'stupid'.

“I don't think they'll ever put us head-to-head,” she said. “I think that would be so stupid. I love Downton and I don't see it as a competition.”

The evening schedules for Christmas Day now look like this:

BBC1

5.15pm – Doctor Who
6.15pm – Strictly Come Dancing
7.30pm – Call The Midwife
8.45pm – EastEnders
9.45pm – The Royle Family

ITV1

5pm – New You've Been Framed! Christmas Special
5.30pm – Emmerdale
6pm – Paul O'Grady: For The Love of Dogs
7pm – Emmerdale
7.30pm – Coronation Street
8.30pm – ITV News
8.45pm – Downton Abbey
10.45pm – Film: Couples Retreat

BBC1 will also show 'Shrek Forever After' from 3.10pm, and at 4.35pm a new animated adaptation of 'The Gruffalo' writer Julia Donaldson's 'Room On The Broom', voiced by Simon Pegg, Gillian Anderson, Rob Brydon, Martin Clunes, Sally Hawkins, David Walliams and Timothy Spall.

Meanwhile, ITV1 has animated films 'Toy Story' at 1.25pm and 'Tangled' at 3.10pm. [Daily Telegraph]