SUNDAY: Downton Abbey continued its Sunday night domination for ITV1, despite press and viewers criticising its volume of commercial breaks.

The lavish Julian Fellowes-penned period drama continued with an audience of 8.77m (33.04%) from 9pm to 10.15pm on ITV1 and ITV1 HD. A further 413,600 (2.49%) watched on ITV1+1, according to overnight Barb figures supplied by Attentional.

Downton peaked with 9.52m (34.41%) in the first five minutes and was marginally above last week’s average audience of 8.73m (34.06%).

It comes as press reports criticised the drama for containing too many advertising breaks and viewers took to Twitter to vent their ire on the matter.

But the drama continues to thrash BBC1 rival Spooks, which climbed to its second biggest audience of the series. The spy drama tracked down 4.47m (16.49%) viewers over the 9pm hour.

Fry’s Planet Word was next in line with an audience of 1.51m (5.6%) over the 9pm hour on BBC2, while a further 59,600 (0.22%) watched theBBC HD simulcast.

Fighting on the Frontline bowed out with a low of 856,200 (3.16%) viewers for Channel 4 in a series that averaged 927,200 (3.43%) over its three-part run. The war documentary drew a further 156,000 (0.9%) on C4+1.

Meanwhile, Channel 5’s Big Brother entertained 1.25m (5.6%) over the 9pm hour.

The X Factor results

Earlier in the evening, The X Factor peaked with 13.48m (45.84%) viewers on ITV1 and ITV1 HD at 8.50pm as the first contestants left the competition in a format twist that saw them voted off by their own mentors.

Overall, the talent contest averaged 11.54m (41.07%) viewers over the 8pm hour on ITV1 and ITV1 HD. It was above Saturday’s instalment of 10.43m (40.28%) viewers, but could not match the previous series high of 11.69m (42.54%) viewers last weekend.

A further 329,800 (1.22%) watched Sunday’s show on ITV1+1.

Meanwhile, BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing results show was seen by 9.76m (38.3%) from 7.25pm to 8pm. The viewing peaked with 10.38m (39.51%) at 7.50pm as Edwina Currie became the first celebrity to be voted off the show.