Viewers prefer old Christmas classics

TV viewers would prefer to see classic repeats than new seasonal shows as they sink into the sofa for Christmas, a survey suggests.

Rather than carping about the number of recycled shows over the festive period, the study for digital TV provider Freeview shows three-fifths would actually prefer tried and trusted oldies.

Criticism of Christmas repeats has become an annual sport – and this year the BBC is re-running such classics as Porridge, Dad's Army, The Good Life and Morecambe & Wise.

But the survey of 2,000 adult viewers shows that the repeats are welcomed by 60 per cent; they claimed to prefer watching classic Christmas TV to new specials with contemporary stars of drama and comedy.

And more than half – 56 per cent – said they found older comedies funnier than contemporary shows.

Rather than being short-changed by repeats, two-fifths of those who took part said they would like to see even more classic reruns at Christmas.

The study emphasises how important TV is to families over the festive period, with sets often on in the background all day on December 25.

Three-fifths of those in the study said their TVs would be on for 14 hours, with many being turned on as early as 10am.

The study found that the average UK viewers will watch 70 hours of live TV over Christmas and record a another 15 hours.

Half of those polled said they loved classic TV because it was more suitable for the entire family and would not leave some relatives squirming with embarrassment.