The new series, presented by Professor Brian Cox, averaged 3.23m (11.9%) for BBC Two in the 9pm hour and 365k (1.3%) on the BBC HD channel.
Wonders performed well in the face of stiff competition from the concluding part of South Riding, which pulled in 5.93m (21.9%) on BBC One from 9pm.
Dancing On Ice: The Skate-Off, featuring the elimination of Denise Welch, entertained 6.97m (26.6%) on ITV1 from 9.30pm and 216k (1.5%) on +1.
Elsewhere on ITV1, the main Dancing On Ice show fetched 8.39m (33.6%) from 6.15pm and 208k (0.8%) on timeshift. Wild At Heart mustered 7.21m (26.7%) from 8.30pm and 168k (0.7%) an hour later.
Earlier on BBC One, Countryfile brought in 6.06m (24%) in the 6pm hour, before Antiques Roadshow managed 6.51m (24.6%). Later, Outcasts continued with 1.33m (9.7%) from 10.30pm.
Over at BBC Two, a screening of Finding Neverland captivated 980k (4.1%) from 6.30pm. Best Of Top Gear entertained 2.58m (9.7%) from 8pm and 277k (1%) on BBC HD. Match Of The Day 2 scored with 3.55m (19.6%) from 10pm.
Channel 4's Come Dine With Me cooked up 1.33m (5.3%) in the 8pm hour and 341k (1.3%) on +1. Civilisation: Is The West History? educated 1.06m (4%) from 9pm and 89k (0.3%) on timeshift, before Country House Rescue took 1.06m (3.9%) and 329k (1.8%) an hour later. A screening of Mr And Mrs Smith thrilled 950k (7.5%) from 10pm.
On Channel 5, Royal Navy Caribbean Patrol roused 702k (2.7%) in the 8pm hour, before a screening of Bulletproof appealed to 1.04m (4.3%).
Overall, ITV1 won primetime with 26.8% (+1: 0.8%) against BBC One's 21.9%. BBC Two came in third with 10.7%, followed by Channel 4 with 4.6% (+1: 0.9%) and Channel 5 with 4%.
Elsewhere, the new series of Being Human continued on BBC Three with 906k (3.3%) from 10pm.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional