Attenborough's new series premiered in Wednesday's 9pm slot with 6.49m (25.1%), rising to a peak of over 7m by the film's climax.
Over on ITV1, a new episode of Midsomer Murders picked up a decent 5.13m (18.8%) between 8pm and 10pm, gaining the upper hand over Holby City's 4.4m (17.8%) in the first hour. The veteran detective drama added 411,000 an hour later on ITV1 +1.
> Read Digital Spy's full soaps ratings report here
Sky Sports 1 usurped Channel 5 as its football coverage averaged 999k (4.2%) across three hours, while an audience of 691k (2.9%) for an Eddie Stobart: Trucks & Trailers repeat at 7pm was as good as it got for a network that has now lost to a digital channel for two nights on the trot.
Elsewhere, Channel 4's new series of One Born Every Minute opened with 2.6m (10.1%) at 9pm (+1: 409k), and Nature's Weirdest Events topped BBC Two's schedule with 2.92m (11.8%) at 8pm.
Overall, ITV1 edged BBC One in primetime with 21.5% (+1: 1.3%) to 20.4%. BBC Two clinched third place with 8.6% ahead of Channel 4's 6.7% (+1: 0.9%), while Sky Sports 1 took fifth spot with 3.7%, and 5 had 2.6% (+1: 0.2%).
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional