The special 40th anniversary broadcast, which saw bad boy Carl King killed off, pulled in 8.84m (40.0%) at 7pm on ITV1 and 374k (1.7%) on +1 an hour later.
Emmerdale Live peaked with 9.15m (40.8%) in its final 15 minutes as Carl was murdered by Cameron Murray.
The episode was the most-watched Emmerdale edition of the year so far, up on the 8.6m figure achieved in January when Zak was revealed as Cain's attacker. It was also the highest since January 2011, when 9m tuned in for an episode shortly after the New Year.
Emmerdale Live: The Fallout also performed well for ITV2 in the aftermath of the special, attracting 1.59m (7.2%) at 8pm and 218k (1.0%) on timeshift.
Hollyoaks, meanwhile, interested 855k (4.3%) at 6.30pm on Channel 4 as Tony revealed a surprise for Cindy, while E4's first look had 559k (2.6%) at 7pm and 120k (0.6%) on +1.
Over on Channel 5, Neighbours grabbed 677k (10.1%) at 1.45pm and 867k (5.1%) at 5.30pm, while Home and Away managed 698k (3.8%) at 6pm and 495k (2.5%) for 5*'s first look at 6.30pm.
Elsewhere, the latest episode of Doctors was seen by 1.28m (19.2%) at 1.45pm on BBC One.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional