BBC1's ballroom competition Strictly Come Dancing has pirouetted ahead of ITV's X Factor in the primetime Saturday night ratings battle.
Strictly drew an average audience of 8.4 million for its launch programme, narrowly ahead of the 8.3 million (including viewers of the +1 catch-up channel) who watched the hour-long edition of its ITV rival the previous Saturday.
Year-on-year Strictly's viewership was up by 400,000 watchers. The first show sees celebrities introduced to their professional dancing partners.
Among the big names donning the sequins this year are fashion designer Julien Macdonald, pop singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Hairy Biker Dave Myers, Dragon Deborah Meaden and TV presenter Vanessa Feltz.
However, on Saturday night ITV claimed the higher ratings peak, with 9.5 million for X Factor while Strictly had 9.4 million.
But the singing show had a big slump in its audience compared to the debut of the 2013 series last Saturday which pulled in 9.2 million.
It was also down on the second Saturday of the 2012 series with an average 400,000 fewer viewers tuning in.
Bookies had put Strictly as the favourite to pull in the bigger audience when the shows clashed for the first time, although the programmes overlapped for only ten minutes on Saturday.
Charlotte Moore, the controller of BBC1 was pleased with the launch figures and said: "Strictly is back. A brilliant show launched the new series with Sir Bruce, Tess and the judges all on top form last night, plus a line-up of contestants who are set to bring Saturday nights alive this autumn on BBC1."Reuse content