Stars of Mrs Brown’s Boys fear its Christmas special will be a ratings flop as the sitcom is back on the box tonight for its annual festive show.
BBC execs have given it a plum 10pm slot because they hope it will be one of the most popular shows this Christmas.
But some of the cast are worried it will still fail to pull in big viewing figures.
A show insider said: “When any show gets a primetime slot on Christmas Day, there is a lot of pressure for it to do well.
“Some of the cast are worried the show is starting to lose its popularity and may struggle to get big ratings.
“They fear there will be bad news when the viewing figures are announced. They will be nervously waiting for the figures on Boxing Day morning to see if the show is still a hit.”
Ratings for Mrs Brown’s Boys have nosedived in recent years.
At its peak in 2013 it pulled in 11million viewers and was the most-watched show on Christmas Day.
But by last year’s special there were just five million of us still watching.
Tonight’s show is up against strong competition.
It is going head-to-head with new ITV show It’s Clarkson On TV, which will see Jeremy Clarkson give his take on the most bizarre shows of the year.
All terrestrial channels also now face more competition than ever from streaming services including Netflix and Disney+.
Mrs Brown's Boys stars reunite for Christmas rehearsal as they ignore backstage drama
An industry insider said: “Christmas Day is the most competitive day of the year in TV. And while Mrs Brown’s Boys was once top of the tree, these days it doesn’t even come close to No1.”
Mrs Brown’s Boys is set to stay on the BBC for another six years after show boss Brendan O’Carroll signed a bumper new deal with the corporation.
Episodes will air every Christmas Day until at least 2026.
Brendan said: “It’s incredible that the BBC have nailed down such a special slot for Mrs Brown. We’ve been doing it for nine years already, which is six more than the Royale Family had and more than Morecambe and Wise.
“This new deal we signed last week goes all the way to 2026, which means I will be able to grow into the part, and we’ve a clause in which guarantees Mrs Brown is aired at 10pm on Christmas night, or else we don’t have to make it.
“I wanted that because if it’s not good enough for Christmas Day, then we shouldn’t be making it.”
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