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Encouraging start for 'Strictly'

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Encouraging start for 'Strictly'
A preview of the new series of Strictly Come Dancing brought in more than 6 million viewers last night (Saturday), according to overnight figures.

The series proper begins next weekend but last night BBC One aired a special programme profiling the 16 celebrities participating in the new run. The show averaged 6.03m (32.8%) between 6.30pm and 7.30pm, beating ITV1's You've Been Framed! A-Z, which had 4.28m (23.3%). Last year a similar Strictly preview show drew 4.71m (25.8%).

The X Factor was still the runaway success story of the night, meanwhile, with 9.38m (43.2%) tuning in for the latest episode at 7.30pm. Five weeks in, the series has averaged 9.23m (44.6%), up from 8.39m (43.9%) at the equivalent stage in 2007.

Against X Factor, a new series of BBC One lottery gameshow Who Dares Wins began with a decent 4m (18.7%). At 8.20pm, Casualty drew 5.28m (23.4%) to help BBC One regain the lead over ITV1, where All Star Family Fortunes entertained 5.1m (22.9%) between 8.30pm and 9.15pm.

The Last Night Of The Proms drew strong ratings, starting with 1.93m (8.6%) on BBC Two at 8pm. Coverage transferred to BBC One at 9.10pm, where 4.44m (21.3%) watched until 10.30pm.

Everybody Dance Now, a Fearne Cotton-fronted special celebrating British dance crazes, had a decent 4.32m (20.5%) for ITV1 at 9.15pm, then a screening of the movie Shakespeare In Love had 1.18m (6.7%).

Channel 4 handed over its primetime schedule to a screening of the first Lord Of The Rings movie, The Fellowship Of The Ring. The epic averaged a respectable 1.87m (8.9%) between 7.30pm and 10.50pm, with a further 251,000 (1.5%) watching on Channel 4+1.

Preceding the Proms, BBC Two aired the live final of Maestro, its search to find a celebrity orchestra conductor. It drew 1.74m (8.3%) from 7.30pm. Post-Proms, repeats of Have I Got News For You and Mock The Week had 1.78m (8.3%) and 1.62m (7.7%) respectively. Dara O'Briain Live From The Theatre Royal brought in the channel's all-day best audience of 2.06m (11.3%) at 10.10pm.

Five peaked with 1.6m (7.5%) for CSI at 9.10pm. It was preceded by 988,000 (4.4%) for NCIS and followed by 1.18m (6.5%) for Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Sky Sports 1's coverage of Liverpool vs. Man Utd brought in 1.19m (16.1%) between 12pm and 3pm, then the Soccer Saturday results show had 545,000 (6.8%) until 5.15pm. Setanta Sports 1's coverage of Man City vs. Chelsea was seen by 607,000 (4.1%) between 5.15pm and 8pm.

The Xtra Factor delivered 1.04m (5.4%) to ITV2 at 8.30pm, with a further 116,000 (0.6%) on ITV2+1. BBC Three's latest countdown show, The Most Annoying Pop Songs Ever, held a strong 592,000 (3.7%) average between 9.10pm and 11.40pm.

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