4 January 2013 7:42 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Two-part special pulls 11.7m and 10.7m using consolidated figures, eclipsed over Christmas only by Strictly Come Dancing

Unloved by the critics it may be, but BBC1 sitcom Mrs Brown's Boys proved the unsung star attraction in the Christmas TV ratings war, watched by more viewers than tuned into Miranda, EastEnders or Downton Abbey when consolidated viewing figures are taken into account.

An unlikely festive hit, not least because of creator Irish comedian Brendan O'Carroll's fondness for four-letter words, the first of a two-part seasonal special had more than 11 million viewers on Christmas Eve, eclipsed over the festive period only by Strictly Come Dancing.

Like My Family before it Mrs Brown's Boys pulls in big audiences for BBC1 despite being a turnoff with many critics.

The sitcom, born out of a character created by O'Carroll 20 years ago for Irish radio, began with fewer than 3 million viewers when it »

- John Plunkett

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