Cricketer Michael Vaughan's exit from the ballroom dancing competition was seen by 9.31 million (34%) in BBC One's 40-minute results show broadcast lasting from 7.20pm until 8pm, peaking with 10m in the last five minutes.
Coronation Street's one-off, hour-long Sunday edition roused 6.45m (23.9%) from 7pm, while a further 542,000 caught ITV1 +1's broadcast of an episode which saw Tina McIntyre's surrogacy become public knowledge.
Before Strictly on BBC One, Countryfile maintained a strong 6.56m (27.4%) from 6.30pm, meaning the magazine show also got the better of Corrie. At 8pm, Antiques Roadshow interested 5.94m (21.7%).
Meanwhile, Union J's departure from The X Factor in ITV1's hour-long results show from 8pm attracted 8.75m (32%) and 282k on +1. Then 9pm's music special - Steppin' Out with Katherine Jenkins - could only muster 3.42m (13.8%) and 283k on timeshift.
BBC One's The Secret of Crickley Hall (5.82m/22.6%) and BBC Two's Dragons' Den (2.01m/8.6%) soared without I'm a Celebrity on ITV, as did Homeland (2.21m/8.6%) on Channel 4 (+1: 266k).
The comedy battle at 10pm between Channel 4's Peep Show and BBC Two's Harry & Paul saw no winner this week, as the pair both grabbed 1.02m (5.1%), with the former adding 138k on Channel 4 +1.
Movie Magnum Force delivered 1.02m (5.1%) to 5 from 9pm but, in a day full of film screenings, it was 3pm's broadcast of Jack Frost which gave the broadcaster its best audience of the day, a slot-winning 1.64m (12.1%) as well as 198k on timeshift. Festive cheer also spread to Channel 4, which managed 2.59m (11.9%) for Miracle on 34th Street from 5.15pm.
Overall, BBC One took pole position in primetime with 24.2% versus ITV1's 20.7% (+1: 1.2%). Channel 4 skipped into third place with 6.5% (+1: 1.3%), ahead of BBC Two's 5.4%, and Channel 5's 3.9% (+1: 0.5%).
The Only Way Is Essex topped the multichannel ratings with 898k (4.8%) on ITV2 at 10pm (+1: 161k), prior to which 843k (3.3%) tuned in to The Xtra Factor at 9pm (+1: 138k).
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional