Belfast Telegraph

Strictly maintains ratings lead

Strictly Come Dancing maintained its lead over rival The X Factor, according to overnight audience figures.

The BBC1 show's latest live edition - which saw viewers voting for the first time this series - pulled in an average of 9.3 million viewers, 100,000 up on last Saturday's programme.

ITV's X Factor drew 8.5 million (including viewers of its +1 catch-up channel) for the first show at the judges' houses stage of the contest - 200,000 down on the equivalent show last year.

The latest Strictly, which saw singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor awarded a huge score of 36 for her Charleston, had a peak audience of 10.6 million while ITV claimed a 10 million peak for its programme.

X Factor's average audience was up 700,000 on the previous Saturday and ITV said the series as a whole is up year-on-year, although the 2012 run saw a major drop on previous series.

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