In the 9pm hour, Embarrassing Bodies climbed to 3.6m (15.5%) and 587k (3%) on Channel 4 +1, while Comedy Rocks with Jason Manford fell further to 2.41m (10%).
At 10pm, The Million Pound Drop Live entertained 2.69m (14.4%), averaging over a million more than ITV1's news bulletin.
Over on BBC One, the Six Nations kicked off with an impressive 6.61m (27%) between 7.30pm and 10pm. Either side of the rugby, The One Show and The Graham Norton Show logged 4.68m (21.3%) and 2.96m (18.6%).
Meanwhile, Mastermind, Life in a Cottage Garden, Can't Take It With You and Fast and Loose took respective audiences of 1.88m (7.7%), 1.41m (5.5%), 1.43m (5.9%) and 765k (3.7%) for BBC Two.
Without EastEnders as opposition, ITV1's Children's Hospital rose to a respectable 4.77m (19.6%) at 8pm, while Relocation: Phil Down Under pulled in 1.79m (7.2%) for Channel 4 as well as 211k (0.9%) on timeshift.
Elsewhere, Ice Road Truckers fetched 1.2m (4.8%) for Channel 5, then The Mentalist grabbed 1.21m (5%) at 9pm, and Law & Order notched up 1.04m (5.3%) at 10pm.
Overall, BBC One topped primetime with 24.8% to ITV1's 19% (+1: 0.4%). Channel 4 was third with 9.6% (+1: 1.1%), followed by BBC Two with 6.1%, and Channel 5 with 4.1%.
A Touch of Frost was the most-watched multichannel programme, claiming 921k (4.4%) for ITV3 between 9pm and 11pm. In second place, Chuggington Badge Quest managed 601k (3.4%) for Cbeebies at 5.40pm.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional