BBC One's hour-long visit to Albert Square from 8pm attracted 7.77m (30.5%), while a later-than-usual edition of Emmerdale mustered 4.9m (18.6%).
EastEnders, which had a half-hour head start, actually rose while the second Dales instalment was on air between 8.30pm and 9pm.
However, ITV's rural soap posted a far more impressive audience of 7.04m (31.2%) in its usual 7pm slot earlier on, as Cameron destroyed evidence of his murder of Alex.
BBC Three appealed to a further 645,000 (4%) for its EastEnders catchup at 10.30pm, while ITV1 +1 added 159k for the early Emmerdale episode and 401k for the later one.
Last time the pair clashed, Emmerdale beat its BBC rival by a significant margin of two million viewers, but EastEnders has since recovered.
Channel 4's showing of Hollyoaks took 889k (4.3%) despite airing in an unusual 6pm slot, then 449k (2.1%) and 468k (2.1%) watched a double bill of the teen soap's first look on E4.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional