Belfast Telegraph

Strictly’s first live show triumphs in the ratings as X Factor dwindles

The TV juggernauts are going head-to-head in the ratings once again.

The first live episode of Strictly Come Dancing well and truly trounced The X Factor when it aired on Saturday night, beating its rival in the ratings by over four million viewers.

The BBC One programme saw 15 new celebrities take to the dance floor for the first time with their partners, and was watched by an average of 9.3 million viewers.

The bumper episode, which aired for just under two and a half hours, peaked at 10.2 million viewers and was the most-watched programme of the day.

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The full line-up of celebrities for Strictly (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Over on ITV, The X Factor – overlapping with Strictly for 45 minutes as it aired from 8pm until 9.15pm – was watched by an average of 4.8 million and a peak of six million, according to overnight data.

The figures for Simon Cowell’s singing programme include those watching the broadcast one hour later on ITV+1.

The X Factor’s latest episode has suffered a drop of 1.5 million while clashing with Strictly, as last week’s broadcast was the highest of the series so far, with an an average of 6.3 million viewers tuning in.

The series opener of The X Factor drew six million for its first Saturday episode at the start of September, its lowest for a launch since its first year on screen in 2004.

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And the new ratings dip for The X Factor comes two weeks after Strictly launched with a pre-recorded episode, which saw the stars learn who their professional partners would be for the series.

Strictly had opened with an average of 8.8 million viewers and a peak of 9.5 million, while The X Factor averaged 5.5 million and peaked at 6.8 million on the same night.

Not only did Strictly’s first live show of the current series beat its main rival, but it also showed a growth compared to last year’s series.

The first live Saturday episode of Strictly in 2016 – which followed a Friday night episode, as the launch was split into two broadcasts – had an average of 8.6 million and peaked at 9.5 million viewers.

Numbers for both reality programmes are expected to rise when consolidated audience figures are taken into account – The X Factor is currently growing to average around 7.5 million viewers per episode each week, allowing for those watching on catch-up.

Fans of Strictly watched as the new spate of celebrities twirled on the dance floor after two weeks of intense training, with former JLS singer Aston Merrygold topping the leader board, and comedian Brian Conley and TV presenter Ruth Langsford coming joint last.

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