SATURDAY: A controversial return for Doctor Who could not save it from a dip in audience numbers.

The BBC1 sci-fi drama was back from a summer hiatus, with the Doctor time travelling to 1930s Berlin an encountering infamous dictator Adolf Hitler.

It drew an average audience of 6.23m (28.7%) from 7.10pm to 8pm, according to overnight Barb figures supplied by Attentional.

It could not match the debut of the sixth series, which launched with 6.51m (36.66%) in April – Doctor Who’s lowest overnight launch audience since the franchise was resurrected in 2005.

However, Doctor Who was easily the highest-rated show during the time it was on air and was above BBC1’s year-to-date slot average of 4.59m (22.08%).

X Factor down 700k

It beat All Star Family Fortunes, which quizzed an audience of 5.18m (24.31%) over the 7pm hour across ITV1 and ITV1 HD – down on last week’s 5.63m (28.73%). The long-running quiz attracted a further 104,700 (0.45%) on ITV1+1.

It was followed by the second instalment of The X Factor, which continued with 10.11m (42.77%) from 8pm to 9.15pm on ITV1 and ITV1 HD, peaking with 11.41m (46%) at 8.50pm. Another 435,600 (1.93%) watched on ITV1+1.

The singing contest was nearly 700,000 viewers down on last week and was marginally below the equivalent show last year, which attracted 10.12m (44.91%).

A Night with Will Young followed The X Factor with an audience of 3.42m (15.44%) over the hour from 10.15pm, while another 188,900 (1.09%) watched on ITV1+1.

CBB falls below 2m

It went up against BBC1’s Casualty, which treated an audience of 4.23m (7.8%) from 8.50pm to 9.40pm.

The penultimate John Bishop’s Britain then followed with 3.26m (15%) up to 10.10pm.

Elsewhere, Channel 5’s Big Brother attracted its smallest audience of the series so far. The reality show was watched by 1.83m (8.28%) over the hour from 9.15pm.

BBC Proms 2011: The Comedy Prom amused 1.32m (6%) from 9pm to 10.40pm on BBC2, while a further 64,700 (0.3%) watched on BBC HD.

Channel 4 showed Sex and the City: the Movie for the second time in as many weeks, entertaining 670,000 viewers from 9.15pm to 11.55pm. It picked up another 139,300 (1.1%) on C4+1.