Whitechapel stars Rupert Penry-Jones and Phil Davis as cops investigating a modern day imitator of the mysterious serial killer from the 19th century. The first episode of three pulled in 8.13m (29.8%), comfortably winning the hour and improving around 1.6m on last week's final episode of Unforgiven.
At the same time, BBC One launched a new series of celebrity genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? This week's episode, featuring impressionist Rory Bremner, interested 6.32m (23.2%).
BBC Two's new crime drama Moses Jones, starring upcoming Time Lord Matt Smith, had a limp 1.4m (5.1%) over the same period. Channel 4 took 1.86m (6.9%) for documentary Backstairs Billy: The Queen Mum's Butler and on Five, Justin Timberlake movie Edison averaged 955k (4.1%) over two hours.
The last of the University Challenge quarter-finals brought in 3.88m (14.1%) to BBC Two at 8pm, then a new week of MasterChef began with a sizable 4.42m (15.8%). Fifth Gear put in 920k (3.3%) for Five, outdoing the 730k (2.6%) for C4's Dispatches: Congo's Forgotten Children.
EastEnders had 10.34m (37.6%) for BBC One at 8pm, then 421k (2.1%) for BBC Three two hours later. Emmerdale was up to 8.62m (33.3%) at 7pm.
Hollyoaks delivered 1.9m (7.5%) to Channel 4, while on Five, Neighbours had 1.8m (9.2%) and Home & Away had 1.21m (5.1%).
ITV1 came out on top in primetime overall, with an average share of 28.9% to BBC One's 24.4%. BBC Two was third with 7.6%, followed by Channel 4 with 4.7% (+1: 0.7%) and Five with 3.3%.
Home & Away was the most popular multichannel programme of the day, with 792k (3.5%) tuning in to Fiver at 6.30pm. E4's first-look Hollyoaks was second with 744k (3.2%).
24 kept up the pace for Sky1, with 632k (2.6%) tuning in for the latest episode at 9pm. E4's 90210 dropped slightly on last week's debut, averaging 369k (1.5%) in the 9pm slot and 151k (0.9%) on timeshift.
> Click here to read our interview with Whitechapel star Phil Davis
Ratings data supplied by Attentional