The return of BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing in a special champion of champions edition was the inevitable ratings blockbuster with a high of 9.4 million (39%) at 8.45pm.
The return of BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing in a special champion of champions edition was the inevitable ratings blockbuster with a high of 9.4 million (39%) at 8.45pm.

The initial 60-minute show at 8pm which saw the winners of the first two series' compete against each other averaged a sizeable 8.5 million (36%).

The 15-minute results show later on, at 10pm, gained 9.1 million (40%).

The ballroom dancing show comprehensively had the edge over ITV1's police drama The Bill which managed to gain 6.2 million (26%) in the same slot.

BBC1 also found popular success at 9pm with a special edition of makeover show What Not to Wear. What Not to Wear Dresses Up took 7.3 million (32%), managing a peak of 8 million (34%) at 9.50pm.

The BBC1 show, hosted by Susannah Constantine and Trinny Woodall, also had the upper hand against ITV1's live broadcast of The British Comedy Awards. The first part of the show at 9pm, hosted by Jonathan Ross, took 5.8 million (26%) and reached a peak of 6.1 million (28%) at 9.15pm. The second half, at 11pm, had 4.3 million (33%).

The audience for the awards show was significantly down on the previous year when an average of 7 million (33.2%) saw the two hour show. The audience peaked at 8.3 million (37%).

ITV1 though had the majority of viewers in the early part of peaktime with Emmerdale taking 8.5 million (41%) at 7pm and Coronation Street , 30-minutes later, with 10.5 million (48%). A pantomime special version of BBC1's quiz show Weakest Link interested 4.8 million (23%) over 50-minutes friom 7pm.

With the two main channels dominating viewing the remaining terrestrial channels largely struggled to find viewers. BBC2 was particularly hit with If? Drugs were Legal at 9pm attracting just 800,000 (3%) and the ensuing debate, which was chaired by Jeremy Paxman, at 10pm had 500,000 (2%).

Channel 4's Bricking It series at 9pm came to an end with 1.1 million (5%) and a repeat of the final Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere at 10pm entertained 1.5 million (7%). Five though had the clear advantage with its film Thunderheart , starring Val Kilmer, at 9pm drawing 2.1 million (11%).

Five though struggled earlier on as it filled it early peaktime schedule with repeats. Swag at 7.25pm had 600,000 (3%) and 900,000 (4%) saw Snake Attack at 8pm.

C4's news at 7pm had 900,000 (4%) and a repeat of Property Ladder at 8pm found 1.9 million (8%). BBC2's film Dunkirk , from 6.50pm, had 1.6 million (7%).

Peaktime shares for Wednesday 22 December: ITV1 - 31%, BBC1 - 30.8%, Five - 6.1%, C4 - 6%, BBC2 - 5.5%, multichannel - 20.6%.

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