2016's Strictly Come Dancing 'most popular' in show's 12-year history

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The current series of Strictly Come Dancing is officially the most popular in the programme's 12-year history.

An average of 10.9 million viewers have so far tuned in to the Saturday night instalment of BBC One's flagship entertainment show.

Louise and Kevin
Louise Redknapp and Kevin Clifton (BBC)

It is the highest figure ever recorded at the half-way point of a series, Press Association analysis has found.

And with tension mounting as the contest gets closer to the final, ratings are likely to rise even higher.

The previous record was 10.8 million. It was set in 2012, when Olympic gymnast Louis Smith went on to win the show's coveted glitterball trophy.

Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith
Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith (Guy Levy/BBC)

This year's series has also opened up a bumper ratings lead over The X Factor.

Strictly is currently pulling in an average of three million more viewers than its ITV rival every Saturday.

Back in 2012, Strictly's lead was just one million.

On Sunday nights, Strictly has so far attracted an average audience of 9.8 million - roughly 2.5 million more than The X Factor.

X Factor 2016
The X Factor is losing out to its rival in the ratings

At this stage of the competition in 2013, Sunday's Strictly was trailing The X Factor in the ratings by 160,000.

The remaining eight celebrity contestants will be battling it out this weekend in the hope they make it through to dance at the prestigious Blackpool ballroom next weekend.

With the people's favourite, former politician Ed Balls, doing a Salsa to the catchy Psy tune Gangnam Style, the stage is set for a spectacular showdown.

Not your usual day at the office.
Not your usual day at the office (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

Former Eternal singer Louise Redknapp is topping the scoreboard with 39 points, after earning an impressive three 10s last weekend for her Argentine tango.

Strictly Come Dancing airs on BBC One at 6.55pm on Saturday