Strictly Come Dancing starts new season with record 9.3m viewers

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Strictly Come Dancing launched with a record 9.3 million viewers on Saturday night - the biggest audience yet for its launch show.

The opener - which saw celebrities and dancers discover who they are paired with - attracted an average of 9.3 million viewers (46.4 % share) and a peak of 10.1 million.

Viewers saw Ed Balls paired up with a "fierce and fabulous" new Russian dancer in the BBC1 show, model Daisy Lowe with previous victor Aljaz Skorjanec and presenter Laura Whitmore with newly single Giovanni Pernice.

The figures are 600,000 up on last year, when an average of 8.7 million tuned in.

The 14th series of the ballroom dancing show, which beat The X Factor in the ratings last year, goes live in three weeks.

The Strictly figures come after The X Factor suffered its lowest launch ratings in 10 years, despite a revamp by Simon Cowell.

ITV's launch show last weekend was watched by 6.8 million (34% share) with a peak of 7.5 million.

Saturday night's third X Factor episode was beaten by Strictly, although the rivals show were not broadcast at the same time. 

The X Factor was watched by 8.3 million viewers (39%) and peaked with 9.2 million - adding another 1.5 million viewers from the same episode last week.

The ITV show was broadcast after BBC1 show Strictly finished at 8pm.

ITV said the figures are up year on year - the third episode last year was watched by 7.7 million (35.3% share).

Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger have joined Cowell on this year's X Factor.

The BBC has not announced the schedules for the live Strictly shows yet.