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'Strictly Come Dancing' waltzes its way to 8m

By
Strictly Come Dancing group 2011

© BBC

Strictly Come Dancing returned last night, with scores of viewers tuning in to see Holly Valance and Anita Dobson top the judges' leaderboard with their first dances.

The BBC One show, fronted by Tess Daly and Bruce Forsyth, nabbed 7.98m viewers for a 33.1% audience share from 9pm.

Prior to Strictly, an edition of Celebrity Masterchef took 2.84m (12.9%) against the second episode in a double bill of Coronation Street.

> 'Strictly Come Dancing' You Be The Judge: Who danced best?

On Channel 5, Heaven Africa's eviction brought in a consistent 1.26m (5.2%) for Big Brother, while the subsequent interview segment with the oft-maligned contestant took 1.06m (8.2%) later on. Big Brother's Bit On The Side saw the audience fall to 561k (6.5%). Gavin Henson's The Bachelor remained remarkably steady from 10pm, pulling in 1.09m (6%).

ITV1's offering suffered from competition with top-billed BBC One shows. Love Your Garden and DCI Banks interested 2.91m (13.8%) and 3.36m (14%), with the latter pulling in a further 261k (1.4%) on timeshift.

Channel 4 stalwarts Come Dine With Me and Million Pound Drop did reasonable business for the broadcaster. The foodie competition scored 1.13m (5.3%) from 8pm, and the Davina McCall show hit 1.42m (6.2%) an hour later. Both shows picked up extra viewers on +1, with 126k (0.5%) and 197k (1.2%) respectively.

An evening of rural-themed programming brought a respectable audience to BBC Two. Escape To The Country (8pm), Gardeners' World (8.30pm) and Digging For Britain (8.30pm) took 1.62m (7.7%), 2.02m (9.2%) and 1.21m (5%) respectively.

Sky1's An Idiot Abroad topped the multichannel ratings for the second week running, beating ITV2's X Factor USA. The Ricky Gervais comedy won with 1.07m (4.4%) to the Cowell show's 889k (4.2%).

Overall, Strictly helped BBC One boost its primetime share to 24.1%. ITV1 followed with 20.2%, and BBC Two, Channel 4 and Channel 5 brought up the rear with 6.5%, 5.2% and 4.3%.

BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional

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