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Doctor Who and BGT draw nearly equal ratings as they start new series

Britain's Got Talent and Doctor Who both held steady in the ratings as they debuted with near-identical viewing figures to those of their previous season-openers.

The 10th series of Doctor Who returned with a first episode titled The Pilot which attracted overnight ratings of 4.6 million, the BBC said.

This figure is identical to the previous series-opener from 2015.

The viewing figures for the first episode may get another boost when the figures for audiences who watch the show on catch-up are added.

The 2015 figure of 4.6 million rose to 6.5 million when the people who recorded the episode and watched it up to seven days later were included.

The show has been off air since December 2015, with the exception of a Christmas special, and has traditionally been aired in the autumn.

This year's series is the final one to feature Peter Capaldi in the title role and the last to be overseen by Steven Moffat, who has been in charge since 2010.

The BBC denied reports that Death In Paradise star Kris Marshall had been cast as Capaldi's replacement.

A BBC spokesperson told Press Association: "No casting decisions have yet been made on Series 11."

Saturday night's episode went up against the return of ITV's dating show Take Me Out, which was watched by 3.1 million people.

Britain's Got Talent was watched by 8.7 million people, garnering an audience share of 42%, which is a two-point increase on last year's share of 40%, ITV said.

Figures provided by the broadcaster for last year's opening episode of the talent programme show that it debuted with 8.763 million viewers.

The figures for ITV include viewers of the ITV+1 and ITV HD channels.

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