The Most Memorable Christmas TV Specials Over the Years

 The Christmas TV special episodes are one of the highlights of the big merry day, but who is in the line-up and how does this compare to past episodes?

 

Over the years we have viewed a variety of reunions, drama, and humour across these Christmas specials that truly make the day so magical.

To spread the Christmas spirit, TheSlotBuzz created a seed list of the UK’s favourite and most popular Christmas TV special episodes over the past 10 years and ranked them according to IMDB's rating system out of 10.

Key Findings:

  • Doctor Who has the most popular Christmas specials out of the 15 episodes collected.
  • Call the Midwife remains a hit at Christmas time as they plan to hold a special this year.
  • Downton Abbey took the top spot for the UKs favourite Christmas episode within the past 10 years.
  • Mrs Brown’s Boys has never ranked high for their special but this year could be different.

 

Top three highest-rated Christmas specials in the past 10 years

 

After analysing a list of 80 special episodes, the top 15 that were ranked the highest were used to reveal the best Christmas episodes over the past 10 years.

Downton Abbey’s ‘The Finale’ fell into first place with a whopping 9.3 stars out of 10 back in 2015. An historical drama that follows the lives of an aristocratic family in the twentieth century. This episode was extremely close to reaching 10 stars as 60.4% of voters rated it a 10 out of 10.

Super popular amongst the British public, Downton Abbey ranks second place for their 2014 special ‘A Moorland Holiday’ with a total of 9 stars. An IMDB user described this episode as “a visually lovely episode”, this Christmas special was voted by 1,862 fans.

Ranking third place is ‘The Husbands of River Song’ from the loved sci-fi television series Doctor Who. This Christmas special received 8.5 stars from IMDB users, although out of the three this episode received the most votes at 5,554. 

 

Most popular 2022 Christmas TV special episodes:

 

It is clear that Doctor Who and Downton Abbey hold the title for the favourite Christmas specials since 2012 but with both of these shows no longer producing, who will take lead for 2022? 

Will Call the midwife excel and finally reach the top three or will Mrs Brown’s Boys after so many yearly special episodes rank high enough to appear in the top 15.

Fortunately for Call the Midwife fans, they will be hosting a Christmas special this year as three of their past specials made it into the top 15. 

TV Show

All Creatures Great and Small

Bad Education

Call the Midwife

Death In Paradise

Doc Martin

Happy Valley

Motherland: Last Christmas

Mrs Brown’s Boys

 

Most popular Christmas TV specials ranked from 2012-2022

 

The top 15 most memorable Christmas TV specials that were ranked the highest from 2012 to 2022 were:

 

#

Episode Name

TV Show

Year aired (10 yrs max)

IMBD Rating (/10)

No of Votes

1

The Finale

Downton Abbey

2015

9.3

2,246

2

A Moorland Holiday

Downton Abbey

2014

9.0

1,862

3

The Husbands of River Song

Doctor Who

2015

8.5

5,554

4

The Time of the Doctor

Doctor Who

2013

8.3

6,998

5

The Snowmen

Doctor Who

2012

8.3

6,725

6

Twice Upon a Time

Doctor Who

2017

8.2

6,909

7

Christmas Special

Call the Midwife

2013

8.7

468

8

Last Christmas

Doctor Who

2014

8.2

5,633

9

The London Season

Downton Abbey

2013

8.4

1,700

10

Christmas Special

Call the Midwife

2014

8.7

432

11

Christmas Special

Call the Midwife

2012

8.5

556

12

Christmas Special

Gavin & Stacey

2019

8.4

1,361

13

A Journey to the Highlands

Downton Abbey

2012

8.2

2,241

14

The Night Before Christmas

All Creatures Great and Small (2020 TV series)

2020

8.4

463

15

Christmas Special

Call the Midwife

2017

8.6

400

 

All data was collected on 30/11/2022 and is accurate as of then.