The programme - featuring performances from Take That, Cheryl Cole and N-Dubz - averaged 8.34m (33%) for BBC One between 8pm and 10pm, peaking with 9.6m (38.8%) for the final 15 minutes. Earlier on the channel, The One Show grabbed 5.18m (23.8%) from 7.30pm.
On ITV1, Tonight: Christmas Or Bust? fetched 3.74m (16.3%) from 7.30pm, before Celebrity Grimefighters brought in 3.19m (12.8%) in the 9pm hour.
Channel 4's Million Pound Drop Live mustered 1.06m (4.1%) in the 8pm hour and 236k (0.9%) on +1. The House That Made Me had 700k (2.8%) from 9pm and 151k (0.8%) an hour later. Jamie's Christmas Lock-In debuted with 1.12m (5.7%) from 10pm and 111k (1%) on timeshift.
Best Of The Culture Show 2010 entertained 690k (3.1%) on BBC Two in the 7pm hour, before Nigella Kitchen and Rick Stein's Cornish Christmas cooked up respective audiences of 1.7m (6.9%) and 1.62m (6.1%) in the 8pm hour. At Home with the Georgians took 1.25m (5%) from 9pm, before Never Mind The Buzzcocks amused 1.27m (5.8%) from 10pm.
Highland Emergency grabbed 889k (3.9%) on Channel 5 from 7.30pm. It was followed by Demolition: The Super Stadium, which appealed to 1m (3%) in the 8pm hour. NCIS and Law & Order: Criminal Intent fetched respective audiences of 1.18m (4.8%) and 903k (4.6%) from 9pm.
Overall, BBC One dominated primetime with 30.8% over ITV1's 20.6%. BBC Two came in third with 5%, while Channel 4 and Channel 5 tied for fourth with 3.9% (C+1: 0.7%).
Elsewhere, E4's Misfits scored the biggest multichannel audience of the night, after 953k (4.9%) tuned in from 10pm and 283k (2.6%) watched an hour later.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional