Entertainment & Arts

Strictly Come Dancing beats X Factor in ratings battle

Pixie Lott and professional dancer Trent Whiddon
Image caption Singer Pixie Lott performed her first dance routine on Friday night's Strictly Come Dancing, the debut show of the 2014 series

Strictly Come Dancing has beaten X Factor in their weekend ratings battle, drawing thousands more viewers on both Friday and Saturday than its rival.

BBC One's Strictly had a Friday average of 6.5m viewers as it went head-to-head with the ITV show, which drew 5.8m.

On Saturday, the shows again had an overlap, though only of half an hour, but Strictly had an average audience of 8.1m, while X Factor drew 7.7m.

Friday's X Factor audience was one of the smallest since it launched in 2004.

However, it was still double ITV's usual figure for that time on a Friday.

And Strictly's Saturday show was down by more than a million on the 9.2m who tuned in to see the second instalment of the series' launch last year.

X Factor was screened on a Friday for the first time.

ITV said it had broadcast a Friday edition of the show because its Sunday schedule was "too full" to show the full "boot camp" stage.

The programme is now being screened over three consecutive nights.

Downward trend

The channel said when viewers from its +1 catch-up channel were taken into account, its peak was 6.6 million on Friday. Its Saturday audience of 7.7m includes those watching on catch-up.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Simon Cowell and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini's return to the X Factor judging panel, along with the addition of Mel B, were anticipated to boost the show's fortunes

The BBC has not said how many people watched Strictly on the iPlayer.

The show was making its debut for 2014 after a preview launch show three weeks ago.

The celebrity couples were split into two groups over Friday and Saturday to perform their first routines of the series.

No-one was eliminated this first week, but the judges' scores will be carried over to those next weekend when the lowest scoring couple will be the first to go.

This year's X Factor figures have continued a downward trend for the show over the past three years, despite the return of lead judge Simon Cowell and promising ratings of an average 8.9m for its 2014 opening episode.

The two shows, which have always had a rivalry, were also up against the launch of a new series of Channel 4's hit Gogglebox on Friday, which pulled in 2.7 million viewers.

One show not to have suffered a ratings hit over the weekend was cult sci-fi series Doctor Who, which was shown an hour later than usual on Saturday to accommodate the start of Strictly.

The usual average of 4.8m viewers tuned in to catch up with the adventures of new Doctor Peter Capaldi.

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