Eastenders’ Derek Branning killer plotline looks set to ensure that the East End soap is the top Christmas Day TV programme for 2012.
The intrigue and suspense surrounding the impending death of the eldest Branning brother places the Albert Square show as the heavy odds-on favourite at 1/4.
Such is the whodunit surrounding Derek’s upcoming murder, that Ladbrokes have even opened a market for who will be the killer.
Practically the whole cast have been given odds to be the perpetrator, with Lauren and Derek himself sharing the lead at 2/5.
Max Branning is a tempting 3/1 bet given Derek’s manipulation of Tanya, while Alfie could lose his rag with his wife’s infidelity and turn murderer at 5/1.
With Christmas being a notoriously tragic time in Walford, anyone could end up causing the end for the soap’s small time gangster, but Kat Moon’s price of 10/1 is a worthy outsider.
The other TV programmes offering competition to Eastenders on Christmas Day will be more lighthearted affairs, with Doctor Who next in line for the gong at 6/1.
David Tennant’s replacement as Doctor in Matt Smith has taken on the role with gusto in the sci-fi series, but it will be a shock if the phone box outnumbers the launderette in terms of overnight viewers.
Downton Abbey can be backed to triumph with its Christmas special at 12/1, which is not a bad price given the place it holds in the nations heart.
A same price is available for Coronation Street, which has a strong following but cannot hold an advent candle to Eastenders’ current plot in the soap stakes.
16/1 for Call The Midwife accurately reflects the shows place as an outsider to be the Christmas number one, but a festive special from the much-loved series shown earlier this year could spring a surprise.
The Royle Family’s longevity on our screens is to be admired, but even the recent revival in interest in the true Royal Family may not be enough to help this Christmas Special come out on top on December 25th at 20/1.
Strictly Come Dancing will struggle to ruffle the feathers of TV’s big-boys from 33/1, and Emmerdale is further back at 66/1.
Paul O’Grady has found a niche as an animal lover in his interesting For The Love Of Dogs show, but at 100/1 he won’t trouble the frontrunners.
2012 Top Christmas Day TV Programme
Eastenders @ 1/4
Doctor Who @ 6/1
Downton Abbey @ 12/1
Coronation Street @ 12/1
Call The Midwife @ 16/1
Royle Family Christmas Special @ 20/1
Strictly Come Dancing @ 33/1
Emmerdale @ 66/1
Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs @ 100/1
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.