The 10pm drama, however, was down from its premiere figure of 2.23m (12.8%) on Tuesday. It drew an additional 218k (2.4%) on +1.
Preceding This Is England '88 on Channel 4 were Grand Designs, which took 1.22m (5%) from 8pm (+1: 360k/1.5%), and Living with the Amish, grabbing 1.48m (6.4%) in the 9pm hour (+1: 297k/1.7%).
ITV1's Without You was seen by 5.11m (22%) from 9pm (+1: 280k/1.6%). On the same night, Tonight took 2.8m (12.6%) from 7.30pm and Piers Morgan's Life Stories attracted 1.05m (8.6%) from 10.35pm.
BBC One's The Manor Reborn was seen by 2.22m (9.1%) from 8pm, followed by Crimewatch with 2.91m (12.5%).
BBC Two began with Victorian Farm Christmas (1.5m/6.8%) from 7pm. Afterwards, the channel aired MasterChef: The Professionals (3.33/13.7%), Rev (1.62m/6.9%), Life's Too Short (1.26m/5.5%) and Frank Skinner's Opinionated (1.4m/7.2%).
Channel 5 had 673k (3%) tuning in for Highland Emergency. Fairground Attractions was watched by 756k (3.1%) from 8pm, The Mentalist analysed 1.46m (6.3%) in the 9pm hour and It's All About Amy got 494k (2.8%) from 10pm.
Overall, ITV1 won primetime with a share of 22.6% (+1: 0.7%) ahead of BBC One's figure of 17.2%. BBC Two ended up with 8.5%, followed by Channel 4 with 5% (+1: 1.1%) and Channel 5 with 3.5%.
On the multichannels, The Big Bang Theory once again performed well for E4 with 748k (3.2%) from 8pm (+1: 261k/1.1%), while The X Factor USA averaged 513k (2.2%) from 8.30pm.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional