Thursday's hour-long edition of the rural serial, focusing on the popular love triangle between Cameron, Chas and Debbie, attracted 7.05m (31.7%) at 7pm and 120,000 an hour later.
EastEnders could only muster 5.05m (21.8%) despite the high-profile nature of Christian and Syed's departure episode, shedding 2m week-on-week and the lowest BBC One figure for the serial of the year so far.
Although Emmerdale always had an advantage due to its 7pm head start, i unprecedentedly retained its entire audience, never dropping below 7m when the two shows went head-to-head between 7.30pm and 8pm
Emmerdale, which has been on fine form since its special 40th anniversary week, achieved its biggest victory over EastEnders in years - when they clashed in July earlier this year, Emmerdale only came out on top by a tiny amount.
However, BBC Three's 10.30pm repeat took 721k (6.5%), and many more will have caught up using Sky+ and BBC iPlayer.
Coronation Street's one-off Thursday outing, an amusing visit to Weatherfield which saw Steve McDonald lock love rival Rob in the back of his own lorry, topped the night with 8.07m (33.1%) at 8pm and 262k on ITV1 +1.
Meanwhile, the continued aftermath of Hollyoaks' huge wedding bus crash gave E4 colossal numbers for a second evening in a row, logging 780k (3.7%) at 7pm (+1: 125k). Channel 4's broadcast of the teen soap managed 1.04m (5.1%) at 6.30pm (+1: 141k).
Elsewhere, Neighbours' latest instalment secured 727k (9.9%) at 1.45pm and 993k (6%) at 5.30pm, while Doctors averaged 1.39m (19%).
Home and Away appealed to 834k (4.4%) at 6pm, after which 5*'s first look nabbed 462k (2.3%).
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad