Frozen Planet, the new David Attenborough-fronted series exploring the polar regions of the Earth, was enjoyed by 6.82m (27.4%) on BBC One in the 9pm hour.
The natural history show performed well against tough competition from new Midsomer Murders episode 'A Sacred Trust', which was seen by 5.52m (22.7%) on ITV1 between 7.30pm and 10pm, and 285k (1.3%) on +1.
The final episode of series one of BBC Three's horror drama The Fades unfortunately lacked a bit of bite, pulling in just 450k (1.6%) in the 9pm hour (including HD).
Also on the multi-channels, series three of The Only Way Is Essex continued to perform on ITV2, dazzling 967k (5%) from 10pm. Before on the channel, new series Peter Andre: My Life launched with 636k (2.6%).
Back on the terrestrials, The Impressions Show amused 2.95m (12.5%) and Ask Rhod Gilbert brought in 1.96m (15%) from 10.45pm.
Celebrity Antiques Road Trip appealed to 2.5m (11.2%) on BBC Two in the 7pm hour, before Great British Food Revival served up 2.19m (9.4%) from 8pm. Secret Pakistan had 1.06m (4.2%) from 9pm and Rab C Nesbitt amused 1.4m (6.9%) from 10pm.
Channel 4's Kirstie's Handmade Britain located 1.68m (7.2%) in the 8pm hour and 175k (0.7%) on +1. Grand Designs constructed 2.24m (9%) from 9pm and 445k (2.5%) on timeshift. Fresh Meat continued with 810k (4.4%) from 10pm and 126k (1.3%) an hour later.
Highland Emergency took 662k (1.8%) on Channel 5 from 7.30pm, before Dangerous Drivers' School educated 1.43m (5.9%) in the 8pm slot. Paul Merton's Adventures had 952k (3.8%) from 9pm, down by almost half on its audience last week.
Big Brother continued on Channel 5 with 1.43m (7.9%) in the 10pm hour, and Big Brother's Bit On The Side entertained 678k (6.9%) on 5* from 11pm.
Overall, ITV1 edged primetime with 22.4% (+1: 1%) against BBC One's 20.3%. BBC Two came in third with 7.8%, ahead of Channel 4's 6.1% (+1: 1%), followed by BBC Two with 7% and Channel 5's 4.6%.
Elsewhere, Severence captivated 435k (2.7%) on BBC Three from 8pm and George Baker - Wexford and Me enthralled 561k (2.5%) on ITV3 from 10pm.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional