Strictly beats X Factor in first ratings showdown

Strictly came on out on top in the ratings battleas it went head-to-head with rival X Factor for the first time this year, according to overnight figures.

Strictly Come Dancing's launch on BBC One attracted an average of 8.7 million viewers, a 41.7% share of the total audience, as fans tuned in to see this year's celebrities paired up with their dancing partners.

At its peak, 9.7 million people were watching.

The X Factor pulled in an average 7.5 million viewers for the third show of the new series, representing a 32.8% share, and peaked at nine million.

Simon Cowell, who produces the ITV singing contest, had joked about the celebrity line-up for Strictly, and last week said The X Factor could easily beat Strictly in the ratings war: "I'd hate to say yes, because I know what will happen if I say yes, it will come back and haunt me.

"This show does feel better, the talent's great, they're interesting, so if it's us versus Peter Andre, I'm going to put my money on us."

A Strictly Come Dancing source said: "Everyone is delighted that Strictly has had its highest ratings for a launch show since 2006.

"All we want to do is give viewers a high quality, entertaining, sparkly evening of fun on BBC One and it is clear from the figures that the appetite for the show is as strong as it has ever been.

"We absolutely aren't going to rest on our laurels though, and everyone is now working hard to get ready for the live shows at the end of the month."

Last week, an average 7.6 million watched Saturday's launch of the 12th series of The X Factor, peaking at 7.9 million, with new judges Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw making their first appearance on the judging panel.

The figures were down from the previous year, which attracted an average of 8.9 million people on the same weekend, despite Cowell's hopes that the revamped format would draw in more viewers.

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