Fronted as usual by Dawn Harper, the Channel 4 medical show returned for its seventh series with 2.95m (12%) in the 9pm hour, adding 509k an hour later on +1.
The 3.5 million overall figure compares favourably with the premiere audience for 2011, and was more successful than Superscrimpers: Waste Not Want Not, which had 1.37m (5.4%) at 8pm (+1: 273k/1.1%).
Meanwhile, the third run of Whitechapel concluded with 5.89m (24.1%) on ITV1 (+1: 266k/1.6%), up 300k on last week's penultimate instalment.
Sandwiched between ITV's highly-rated Coronation Street double bill, Adrian Edmondson's The Dales climbed to 4.26m (17.1%).
Paxman had more success on BBC Two, as his quizshow University Challenge grabbed 2.75m (11%) in a difficult 8pm slot.
Police Interceptors, Channel 5's most-watched programme of the night, grew to 1.24m (4.9%) at the same time.
Overall, ITV1 extended its lead atop primetime with 26.3% (+1: 0.7%) against BBC One's 18.9%. Channel 4 rose to third place with 6.8% (+1: 1.2%), ahead of BBC Two's 5.9%, and Channel 5's 3.9% (+1: 0.1%).
At long last, Stephen Mangan's Dirk Gently began a full series, pulling in 737k (3%) for BBC Four at 9pm.
BBC Four had a brilliant night overall, with 10pm's Storyville the day's best-rated multichannel show with 925k (6.2%).
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional