The glitz of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing was tarnished by The X Factor on the weekend, with the ITV1 reality singing contest trouncing the dance contest by 2m viewers.
The two shows, which have been mired in controversy over their scheduling, were pitted head to head on Saturday night for the first time, after the broadcasters failed to negotiate a compromise.
X Factor was the top dog on the night, notching up an average audience of 9.3 million (38%) between 8pm and 9.15pm, peaking at 10.7 million (42.6%) at 8.55pm.
In comparison, Strictly averaged 7.7m (32.9%) between 7.25pm and 9.05pm, peaking at 8.7m (35.7%) at 9pm when tennis ace Martina Hingis was voted off.
The X Factor was the one that younger viewers favoured, attracting 53% percent of the 16-34 demographic over the whole show, compared to 24% who watched Strictly.
Between the two main channels, there wasn’t much space for anyone else.
BBC2’s documentary on Aztec ruler Montezuma between 8pm and 9pm drew 1.1m (4.7%) while C4’s movie Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring drew 1.2m (5.1%) between 7pm and 10.15pm and an extra 140,000 (0.7%) on C4+1.
Five’s CSI:NY drew 800,000 (3.2%) between 8.15pm and 9.15pm
Earlier in the evening, ITV1’s The Cube continued to perform strongly despite being moved to a pre-X Factor slot, scoring 4.7m (23%) between 7pm and 8pm.
BBC1’s Merlin launched with 5.1m (27%) between 6.40pm and 7.25, making it the most watched programme at the time, but it was down on last season’s equivalent launch episode figures by 1.5m. The first episode drew 7.1 m (30%) on 20 September, 2008.