The first instalment of Egypt, a trio of two-part drama-documentaries which follows the discovery of ancient Egyptian antiquities by archaeologists, peaked with 7.3 million (30%) at 9.25pm and ran for an hour.
ITV1's Jericho could not compete with this success, pulling in 4.7 million (22%) between 9pm and 11pm in its penultimate episode.
Girls and Boys - Sex and British Pop on BBC2 had 1.4 million (6%) between 9pm and 10pm and Channel 4 and Five's films - Austin Powers in Goldmember and A Perfect Murder - had 2.5 million (11%) and 1.4 million (5%) respectively.
Possibly the star show of the evening was Aardman's Creature Comforts which returned to ITV1 after a long absence and found 8.8 million (35%) at 7.20pm, running for 10 minutes.
The animation short's closest rival was the Antiques Roadshow on BBC1 which claimed 6.2 million (26%) from 6.45pm to 7.35pm.
Rocket Man, another new series for BBC1 at 8pm, managed a healthy 5.9 million (23%) and hit a peak of 6.4 million (25%) at the end. The drama starring Robson Green came second to ITV1's ratings banker Heartbeat which attracted 8.7 million (34%) in the same slot.
On BBC2, The Best of Top Gear got 2.3 million (9%), while C4's Great British Islam, which traced the heritage of Muslims in Britain, saw 800,000 (3%) and Britain's Worst?Teenager saw 1.4 million (5%). All three shows ran for an hour in the 8pm slot.
Later in the evening audience share was more evenly split between Panorama, which had 2 million (12%) at 10.15pm on BBC1 and Legless, a topical drama about Britain's drinking culture on C4, informed 1.2 million (12%) at 10.45pm, running until 12.05am.
The BBC's Egyptian theme continued on BBC2 with Egyptian Journeys with Dan Cruickshank, in which the travelling historian will take a more scholarly look at ancient Egypt for the next six weeks, following on from BBC1's Egypt.
Match of the Day 2 followed Cruickshank with 1.8 million (12%) at 10.30pm until 11.15pm.
Peak time shares for Sunday 30 October 2005: ITV1 - 30.4%, BBC1 - 24.8%, BBC2 - 7.2%, C4 - 6.8%, Five 6.8%, multichannel - 24.1%.