Part of the Exposure strand, the controversial programme was watched by 1.72 million (21.1%), easily the most popular show airing at that time of night and ITV1's highest audience in the slot all year - also adding 155k (4%) on ITV1 +1.
'The Other Side of Jimmy Savile', which explored recent allegations that the late DJ molested under-age girls during his time at the BBC, is Exposure's highest-rated investigation since launching last year.
Earlier in the 8pm hour, All Star Mr & Mrs closed the gap on BBC One's Watchdog, rising to 4.14m (18.9%) for ITV1 (+1: 107k/0.5%) while Anne Robinson's consumer affairs show maintained a steady 4.72m (21.6%).
With Who Do You Think You Are? out of the schedules, Great Train Robbery drama Mrs Biggs won the 9pm slot at the fifth time of asking for ITV, concluding with 3.87m (18.2%) as well as 181k (1.2%) on timeshift.
For BBC One, a Panorama investigation into health tourists interested 3.22m (14.5%), while BBC Two's Welcome to India began with a decent 2.01m (9%), and Dallas's 1.3m (5.9%) for Channel 5 placed it slightly ahead of Hotel GB's 1.23m (5.6%) for Channel 4 (+1: 217k/1.8%).
Aided also by its 7pm soap hour, ITV1 topped primetime with 22% (+1: 0.8%), beating BBC One's 18.6%. BBC Two claimed third place with 5.6%, ahead of Channel 4's 4.4% (+1: 0.9%), and Channel 5's 3.8% (+1: 0.3%).
BBC Four's Kenny Everett Night proved a hit in the ratings: the comedian's 1973 appearance hosting Top of the Pops took 566k (2.7%) at 8pm, 616k (2.7%) then watched The Best of Kenny Everett's Television Shows, before new documentary Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story was the night's best-rated multichannel show with 803k (3.8%).
Meet Kenny Everett (508k/3%) and another Best of Kenny Everett's Television Shows (558k/4.2%) signed the special night off with style.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional