The BBC One ballroom dancing show held a strong 34% share of the audience between 8.30pm and 10pm for Darcey Bussell's debut on the panel, while 8m average matches last year's premiere.
Piers Morgan's Life Stories was Strictly's nearest challenger with 2.88m (12.3%) for ITV1 - a further 385k (2.1%) on ITV1 +1 were interested in Ronan Keating's story.
Elsewhere, Mastermind (2.23m/9.9%) and Gardeners' World (2.37m/10.2%) gave BBC Two a comfortable third place finish behind BBC One and ITV.
Meanwhile, Channel 4's Hotel GB concluded with 1.1m (5%) at 9pm (+1: 163k/1%), while Eddie Stobart: Trucks and Trailers had 1.01m (4.4%) for Channel 5 in the 8pm slot.
Overall, BBC One topped primetime with 26%, ahead of ITV1's 19.5% (+1: 0.9%), BBC Two's 7.2%, Channel 4's 3.7% (+1: 0.6%), and Channel 5's 2.9% (+1: 0.2%).
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional