ITV bosses accused of “dirty tricks” after changing Christmas Day schedule to put Downton Abbey directly against the BBC’s Call The Midwife!

by Lynn Connolly

When the schedules for Christmas Day programming on the BBC and ITV were first revealed, top dramas Dowton Abbey and Call the Midwife were to overlap by fifteen minutes…

However, in what was termed “a Christmas present to viewers”, ITV rescheduled Downton’s festive episode so that viewers could watch it and Call the Midwife without any clash.

But today it’s been reported that BBC bosses are “livid” that now, ITV has yet again altered the timeslot for Downton Abbey so that it does now clash with Call the Midwife.

The Daily Star reports, “The BBC’s top brass eventually moved their pride and joy to 7.30pm after ITV said it wanted their Downton Abbey special to begin at 8.45pm instead of 9pm as originally planned.”

A BBC source said, “ITV always said they were putting Downton on at 9pm so we went earlier, avoiding a clash…

“It stinks of dirty tricks that they left it so late to reveal they had moved it back 15 minutes.

“Clearly they wanted a clash in the hope people would stop watching Call The Midwife and switch over to Downton.

“Talk about being Grinches. They have no Christmas spirit.”

And due to the reshuffling, Call the Midwife will directly clash with the Christmas Day visit to Coronation Street. In addition, Downton Abbey will now go head-to-head with EastEnders as they’ll air at the same time.

So what to do?

Well, I’ll be recording them all because by the evening of Christmas Day I’m usually either in a coma or refereeing at a game of Monopoly.

And failing that, if there are several clashes, I’ll record on ITV+1 or in extremis, I’ll watch what I’ve missed on iPlayer or ITV Catch Up.

However, for viewers who can’t record shows, or who don’t use the internet, then I guess it could be an issue.

Do the programme clashes bother you at all?

Here’s a look at the BBC and ITV’s Christmas 2012 promos…

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.