Billy Mitchell's desperate dash back to Walford was seen by 7.59m (35.1%) at 8pm and 681k (3.3%) two hours later on BBC Three.
Perry Fenwick's torch run as Billy and Danielle Harold's birth - both performed live - attracted 7.32m (31%) at 9pm as well as a huge 1.04m (6.1%) for BBC Three's 10.30pm second showing.
EastEnders peaked with 8.2m (37.3%) for its first instalment, and 7.9m (32.6%) for the live climax of its later edition - helping BBC One beat ITV1 in the primetime ratings.
Coronation Street, however, remained the day's most-watched soap when comparing head-to-head first showings - also pulling in a consolidated average audience of 8.1m.
Yesterday's first visit to Weatherfield logged 7.68m (38.8%) at 7.30pm (+1: 226k/1%) as Sunita and Karl's affair was sensationally rumbled, and 7.8m (34%) at 8.30pm (+1: 273k/1.2%) for the messy aftermath.
Emmerdale, meanwhile, drew 5.87m (33.3%) at 7pm for Cameron's proposal to Debbie. The rural soap added a further 167k (0.8%) on ITV1 +1 an hour later.
Elsewhere, Hollyoaks mustered 861k (5.3%) at 6.30pm and E4's first look grabbed 514k (2.9%), while Doctors took 1.14m (16.4%) for BBC One at 1.45pm.
Neighbours nabbed 689k (9.8%) at lunchtime and 981k (7.9%) at 5.30pm, while Home and Away fetched 801k (5.3%) at 6pm and 555k (3.4%) for 5*'s first look.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad