Entertainment & Arts

Strictly Come Dancing beats X Factor in overnight ratings battle

Pixie Lott and Trent Whiddon/Jake Quickenden Image copyright BBC/ITV
Image caption The two shows have always had a traditional rivalry

BBC One show Strictly Come Dancing has beaten ITV's X Factor in the overnight ratings on its return to the autumn schedule.

Strictly attracted an average of 8.4m viewers on Sunday, while The X Factor was watched by 7m.

The entertainment big-hitters went head to head from 20.00 BST.

The X Factor launched last weekend, watched by an average of 9.3m, as Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Simon Cowell re-joined the judging panel.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Simon Cowell and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini have returned to the line-up

The ITV show's viewing figures do not include those for their ITV+1 channel and the BBC figures do not include those catching up on the BBC iPlayer via tablets or computers.

Saturday's edition of The X Factor was watched by an average of 8.7 million people, according to overnight ratings.

Image caption Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman are this year's main Strictly presenters

On Sunday, Strictly went out from 20.00-21.15 while The X Factor aired from 20.00-21.05.

It marks the first time in several years that the two have clashed.

Quoting the peak audience figures, Cowell tweeted: "So the numbers are in. Strictly peak 9.4. X Factor peak 9.2. Round one to them. Such a shame they were both on at the same time!"

The BBC said the overlap was unavoidable because it had scheduled Strictly to avoid clashing with an extra edition of Coronation Street.

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Media captionSir Bruce Forsyth on passing the baton to Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly

Cowell criticised the BBC's decision last month, saying it would only hurt the viewers.

He said: "They say this isn't a ratings battle, it is, that's why they did it. They didn't have to put it on at the same time as us, they did and it means that people then have to make the choice, where before I think it was more of a gentlemen's type agreement. But it just shows, as far as I'm concerned, this is personally speaking, the producers of the show for what they are.

"They don't want this show to do well, they don't want people to watch it, and our job is to do the best job we can so people prefer X Factor to them."

Sir Bruce Forsyth took part in a special routine on Sunday's Strictly Come Dancing to mark his departure as one of the show's main hosts.

He led a "flashmob" dance in the first episode of the new series before handing over to new presenting duo Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman.

Celebrity participants include tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy Murray, MasterChef host Gregg Wallace and pop star Pixie Lott.

Former Spice Girl Mel B made her debut as a judge on The X Factor last weekend, having filled the same role on the Australian version. She joins Fernandez-Versini, Louis Walsh and Cowell - who returned to chair the X Factor judges, taking over from Gary Barlow, having launched the show back in 2004.

He quit being in front of the camera in the UK in 2010 to spearhead X Factor USA, which ran for three seasons until it was axed this year.

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