Call The Midwife has trumped Downton Abbey in the ratings war, with the 1950s drama pulling in 120,000 more viewers for its finale last night than for the equivalent first-series final episode of Julian Fellowes' 1920s period soap starring Hugh Bonneville in 2010.
The BBC series about bike-riding midwives, recently commissioned for a second series, gave period drama fans fresh reason to stay in on Sunday nights when it began in January.
And last night the show, based on the books by the late Jennifer Worth, was given a joyous finale as aristocratic midwife Camilla "Chummy" Cholmondely-Browne, played by comic actress Miranda Hart, married Pc Noakes (Ben Caplan).
The final episode was watched by 10.89m viewers, while only 10.77m watched Downton's finale.
However, although this final rating suggests Call The Midwife is now Britain's most popular drama series, it has a long way to go before it reaches Downton's level of success. As filming for its third series gets underway, Downton has already racked up six Emmys and a Golden Globe, and found a huge fanbase Stateside, where the second series has just finished airing.
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