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BBC wins ratings race with ‘Wallace’

Aardman Animation special nabs viewers

The BBC froze out ITV in the Christmas Day ratings battle powered by Aardman Animation’s “Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death.”

The claymation duo’s newest adventure was the day’s — and the year’s — most-watched show with an audience of 14.3 million (53.3% share).

Their 2005 outing, “Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” nabbed 7.2 million (39.8% share) earlier in the day, helping the pubcaster to claim nine of the slots in the top 10. The “Doctor Who” Christmas special came in at No. 2 with 11.7 million viewers (50.5% share). Commercial rival ITV’s only show in the top 10 was veteran soap “Coronation Street,” with 7.4 million (30% share).

BBC1 had a 34.2% audience share in daytime, double ITV’s 17%. It scored 43.7% in primetime compared with ITV’s 21.6%.

Primetime audience numbers rose from 23.8 million in 2007 to 24.4 million, a good sign for free-to-air TV channels that have seen auds eroded by satellite and cable channels, vidgames, and the Internet.

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