WHEN it comes to Christmas TV cliffhangers, there have been some intense and gripping moments on our screens over the years.

From Father Brown and The Darling Buds of May to Downton Abbey and EastEnders, it wouldn't be Christmas without a shocked gasp at the television.

But what are the top Christmas TV cliffhangers? Is one Christmas TV cliffhanger better than all the rest?

Here's a list of the most shocking and talked about Christmas TV moments and cliffhangers.

EastEnders - Dirty Den divorces Angie at Christmas

The moment Dirty Den stunned wife Angie with divorce papers on EastEnders topped a poll of the best Christmas TV cliffhangers.

The 1986 episode of the long-running BBC soap took 32 per cent of the vote in a poll by UKTV’s Drama channel.

The words "Happy Christmas Ange" will forever remain as one of the most memorable TV soap quotes.

You can watch the moment pne of the most infamous EastEnders couple Angie and Den Watts divorced at Christmas here.

Gavin & Stacey Christmas special - Nessa’s proposal to Smithy

The Gavin & Stacey Christmas special in 2019 left viewers in the lurch over Nessa's shock proposal to Smithy.

This is the second top Christmas cliffhanger chosen in UKTV's Drama Channel poll, based on 2,000 viewers.

James Corden has since said he has never discussed how the Gavin & Stacey cliffhanger will be resolved with fellow writer Ruth Jones.

Sherlock - Sherlock steps off a hospital roof

In third place is the 2012 Christmas episode of Sherlock, where the detective stepped off a hospital roof to his apparent death.

The episode The Reichenbach Fall saw Moriarty and Sherlock have their final confrontation high on the roof top of St Barts Hospital.

You can watch the final confrontation here.

EastEnders - Stacey and Max’s affair

Back again for another Christmas TV cliffhanger is EastEnders with the 2007 Christmas special. 

It's the episode which reveals Stacey and Max’s affair.

Horrifying scenes unfold at the Brannings after Christmas dinner.

You can watch the highlight from the 2007 EastEnders special here.

Downton Abbey - Lady Mary gives birth as Matthew is killed

The Downton Abbey Christmas episode in 2012 saw viewers shocked by emotional scenes before the credits suddenly started to roll.

Lady Mary gave birth only for her partner Matthew to be killed in a car accident.

You can watch the heartfelt and tragic Downton Abbey cliffhanger unfold here.

The Royle Family

The Royle Family's 1999 special showing Denise going into labour in another memorable Christmas TV cliffhanger.

On Christmas Day 1999, Denise goes into labour in the bathroom and later gives birth to a baby boy called David Keanu Ronan Best.

Coronation Street - tram crash

The Christmas episode of Coronation Street in 2010 saw the show's the biggest explosion to date.

For Coronation Street's 50th anniversary, a tram fell from the viaduct with devastating effects.

You can watch the nail-biting moment as it happened here.

EastEnders - Frank Butcher’s return

Ranked as the 10th top Christmas episode by Drama poll participants, it's EastEnders' 1995 Christmas special.

As the iconic EastEnders theme song played, many soap fans were left as speechless as Pat Butcher herself.

You can watch the classic EastEnders moment here.

Emma Ayech, channel director for Drama, said: “These incredible TV cliffhangers represent some of the most memorable moments in British TV history.

“TV has the power to tell stories that hook you in and keep you gripped which is something the whole family can then come together to watch and enjoy.

“We’ve found that people love to watch back these dramatic moments, remembering the first time they watched it with their loved ones and forging new family traditions.”