The chatshow mustered 2.97m (18.4%) from 10.35pm, slightly below what Friday Night With Jonathan Ross was averaging before it ended this year.
Earlier on the channel, New Tricks won the 9pm hour with a solid 7.08m (29.8%), soundly beating ITV1's Paul O'Grady Live which itself had a respectable 3.63m (15.2%) and 132k (0.6%) on HD.
Facing 90 minutes of soaps, BBC One had 4.62m (22.2%), 3.7m (17.1%) and 4.21m (17.5%) for The One Show, Helicopter Heroes and QI at 7pm, 7.30pm and 8.30pm. Meanwhile, Cheetah Kingdom logged 2.87m (12.4%) and 139k (0.6%) on ITV1 HD.
BBC Two's Gardener's World and Mastermind took 1.95m (8.3%) and 1.87m (7.8%), after which new documentary strand David Attenborough's First Life opened to 2.64m (11%) from 9pm.
However, the audience dropped off for The Stephen K Amos Show, which only entertained 984k (4.5%), far less than The Rob Brydon Show a fortnight ago in the same slot. A repeat of Have I Got News For You followed with 1.11m (6.5%) at 10.30pm.
Elsewhere, in the battle of imported dramas on Channel 4 and 5, The Mentalist overtook The Event, with 1.5m (6.3%) to 1.04m (4.4%) from 9pm, although The Event added 236k (1.2%) on +1.
Prior to that, Come Dine with Me claimed 1.45m (6.1%) and 332k (1.4%) on +1, while White Van Man notched up 987k (4.2%) for Channel 5.
Law & Order: SVU delivered 1.19m (6.3%) to Channel 5 at 10pm, while 1.87m (10.7%) chose Channel 4's The Million Pound Drop, followed by 211k (1.9%) an hour later on timeshift.
Overall, BBC One won primetime with an average share of 24.1% to ITV1's 21.5% (HD: 0.8%), BBC Two was third with 7.2%, Channel 4 followed with 5.6% and Five had 4.6%.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional