“Happy Christmas, Ange”

  • "Dirty Den" Watts issuing Angie Watts with divorce papers on Christmas Day is voted the most dramatic Christmas TV moment of all time
  • Classic festive episodes from Only Fools and Horses, Doctor Who and Sherlock all featured in the Top 10
  • Top 20 most dramatic Christmas TV moments are revealed by UKTV's Drama channel to celebrate its festive programming
  • Brits will typically spend over 12 hours watching TV over Christmas

Festive scenes and episodes from EastEnders, Dr Who and Coronation Street have been named as the most dramatic Christmas TV moments ever, according to new research revealed today.

The poll of 2,000 British adults was specially commissioned to mark UKTV's Drama channel's festive schedule. Nearly two thirds of Brits (64%) voted the jaw-dropping EastEnders Christmas Day scene where resident bad boy, "Dirty Den", surprises wife Angie with divorce papers after revealing that he knows she's been faking a terminal illness as the most dramatic Christmas TV moment of all time. Viewers can relive this dramatic moment when the classic Christmas Day episode from 1986 will be shown again on Christmas Day on Drama.

Only Fools and Horses came in close second, securing 61% of the public vote, with their unforgettable 1996 festive episode where long suffering brothers, Del Boy and Rodney finally made their fortunes, becoming millionaires with the sale of an old pocket watch. Rounding off the top three was the much-loved cartoon The Snowman, with the heart-breaking ending of The Snowman melting voted as the third most dramatic festive TV moment ever.

Overall, the Top 20 encompasses 30 years of beloved seasonal British TV moments, from Coronation Street and EastEnders shocks to the romantic finale of Tim and Dawn in The Office to Sherlock's shocking "death" during the show's 2012 Christmas Day special.

The nation's Top 20 most dramatic Christmas TV moments are revealed as:
1 EastEnders (1986) - After 19 years of marriage, "Dirty Den" - Den Watts surprises Angie by revealing that he knows she's been fabricating her terminal illness. He then hands her his Christmas gift: divorce papers. 64%

2 Only Fools and Horses (1996) - Rodney and Del Boy become millionaires after an old pocket watch they own sells for £6.2 million. 61%

3 The Snowman (1982) - The morning after the return flying journey home, the sun has come out and the boy wakes up to find the Snowman has melted. 60%

4 The Vicar of Dibley (1999) - The nativity play is stretched to the limit when Alice Tinker's Virgin Mary goes into labour for real. 59%

5 Downton Abbey (2012) - Lady Mary returns early from Scotland, rushing to Cottage Hospital to deliver her healthy baby. Matthew soon joins her and meets his son and heir, but after he leaves to go back to Downton Abbey, he is killed in a car accident._ 48%

6 Doctor Who (2005) - Newly regenerated 10th doctor, David Tennant, defeats killer Christmas trees. 44%

7 Call the Midwife, Episode 16 (2014) - Detonation of an unexploded bomb discovered by the convent. 43%

8 EastEnders (2007) - Stacey and Max's affair is revealed to the Branning family whilst watching a DVD, after Max's daughter Lauren secretly films the pair kissing sharing a kiss. 43%

9 The Royle Family (1999) - Denise goes into labour in the bathroom on Christmas Day. 43%

10 Sherlock (2012) - Sherlock confesses to John to being a fraud and states his final "goodbye" and then steps off the hospital roof to his 'death'. 40%

11 Gavin and Stacey (2010) - Stacey reveals to Gavin that she's pregnant after years of trying together for a baby. 39%

12 The Office (2003) - Dawn finally kisses Tim at the Christmas office party. 38%

13 Doctor Who, End of Time (2010) - Wilf breaks down as he begs the Doctor not to die, as the David Tennant Doctor hears the four knocks and cries "I don't want to go.." before he regenerates. 37%

14 Coronation Street (2011) - As a last-minute replacement for Mary in the Bessie Street School nativity at Weatherfield Community Hall, Katy goes in for some extreme method acting by actually giving birth to a baby during the performance. The newborn then gets the appropriate name of Joseph! 37%

15 EastEnders (2006) - Pauline Fowler dies in Albert Square under the Christmas tree. 36%

16 EastEnders (1998) - Tiffany Mitchell is run over by Frank Butcher as she tries to flee husband Grant. 36%

17 Emmerdale (2016) - Victor Ashley forgets it's Christmas Day as his vascular dementia worsens. 34%

18 Coronation Street (1987) - Hilda Ogden bows out after 23 years in Weatherfield in order to make a new life for herself as Dr Lowther's housekeeper. 33%

19 Downton Abbey (2011) - Lady Mary tells Matthew about losing her virginity to Mr Pamuk and claims that she's 'impure' for him to consider for marriage. Though surprised, he soon decides that it doesn't matter as he loves her, and proposes to her. Lad Mary happily accepts. 32%

20 Victoria (2017) - Whilst walking in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Prince Albert goes ice skating and falls into the water, Queen Victoria fights to save him from the lake. 32%

The EastEnders Christmas Day episode is one of the most watched British TV moments ever, with 30.1 million viewers. The poll topping scene marked the climax of the ongoing Angie and Den storyline that gripped the nation in 1986. The historic TV moment will be available to watch this Christmas Day with the 1986 Christmas EastEnders episodes airing on Christmas Day at 7pm on UKTV Channel Drama.

When it comes to watching Christmas TV, it appears that watching all those dramatic moments is a tradition for many Brits, with the research finding that on average we typically spend at least 12 hours watching TV during the festive period.

Emma Ayech, Channel Director for Drama said,

Whether you've seen these episodes five times or 50 times, these unforgettable TV moments still have us on the edge of our seat and stand the test of time. This Christmas on Drama we are bringing the public the nostalgic yet heart-stopping action from all their favourite Drama shows, perfect to snuggle up to and get the blood pumping on these cold December days.

The home of British Drama, UKTV Drama's festive programming includes some of the nation's best loved programs and Christmas moments such as Wuthering Heights, featuring Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley, the epic and star-studded War & Peace and the world-famous Pride & Prejudice, starring Colin Firth.

The 1986 EastEnders Christmas episode is available to watch on 25th December 2018 at 7pm on Drama. Viewers can also catch up at any time using UKTV's streaming service at uktvplay.co.uk.

For more information contact Alex Butler at Taylor Herring: ab@taylorherring.com / Tel: 0208 206 5151

About UKTV Drama:

Freeview 20, Sky 158, Virgin 128, BT, TalkTalk 020 and on demand via UKTV Play.

Drama is a channel that is passionate about bringing Britain the best in quality drama. From period through to contemporary and comedy, the channel is a treasure trove of classic and modern drama which showcases the greatest stories ever told. With programmes including favourites Call the Midwife, Pride and Prejudice, New Tricks and Silent Witness, and new offerings such as The White Princess, Red Tent, The Brokenwood Mysteries and Mercy Street, viewers can indulge in a handpicked range of the nation's most celebrated TV dramas.

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