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Victoria reigns as Poldark loses his shirt in Sunday night battle

Published 05/09/2016

Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria
Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria

Royal ITV drama Victoria has trumped the return of BBC's Poldark in the ratings war, initial Sunday night figures appear to show.

However, Poldark could still dethrone its royal rival, as overnight figures for the BBC series do not take into account those watching on catch-up while the ITV programme's figures do.

The two shows went head-to-head with a 9pm slot with the first episode of series two of Poldark being viewed by an average of 5.1 million with an audience peak of 5.3 million.

Victoria scored a slightly higher average of 5.2 million and peak of 5.9 million, with these numbers including those watching on ITV+1.

The series, starring Jenna Coleman as a young Queen Victoria, was the most-watched drama on Sunday night with a 23.3% audience share.

Initial figures for Poldark show the Aidan Turner-fronted series set in Cornwall garnered a 22.7% share.

This is the second week running that the lavish ITV drama has had the upper hand over a BBC broadcast.

Last Sunday night, Victoria's debut episode beat the BBC's remake of Are You Being Served? when the drama faced off against the return of the comedy favourite.

Victoria attracted 5.7 million viewers and 6.1 million at its peak, claiming a 30% share of the audience, and Are You Being Served? claimed five million viewers, a peak of 5.2 million and a 24% share of the audience.

Irish actor Turner has won legions of fans with his brooding role as Captain Ross Poldark, and his topless scything has become one of the drama's most famous moments.

In the new series, Ross faces capital crimes while he and his wife Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) are still dealing with the death of their daughter, Julia.

Victoria sees former Doctor Who star Coleman as the young monarch inheriting the throne at the age of 18.

The drama also stars Rufus Sewell as prime minister Lord Melbourne and will later feature Tom Hughes as Prince Albert.

Meanwhile, Sunday's most popular show was The X Factor on ITV, with 7.6 million viewers on average and an audience peak of 8.4 million, including ITV+1 figures.

It ruled the night with a 33.1% share of the audience.

The return of the TV talent competition started last Saturday with the lowest launch ratings in 10 years despite a revamp by boss Simon Cowell, but the numbers have risen.

Its debut episode was watched by 6.8 million with a peak of 7.5 million, but its third episode on Saturday saw the figures rise to 8.3 million with a peak of 9.2 million.

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