Series three of The Only Way Is Essex averaged 1.6m (9.3%) for ITV2 from 10.15pm, up by nearly 500k on the finale of series two. The show also had 174k (2.1%) on +1.
Downton Abbey delighted 9.08m (34.2%) on ITV1 from 9pm and 416k (2.5%) on timeshift, easily outperforming Spooks's 4.15m (15.2%) on BBC One.
New ITV1 quiz show Holding Out For a Hero continued with 2.49m (11.9%) in the 7pm hour, before The X Factor was watched by 10.63m (38.7%) in the 8pm hour and 507k (1.8%) on +1, as the final 32 acts were revealed. Spinoff show The Xtra Factor averaged 1.03m (3.9%) for ITV2 and 228k (1.3%) on +1.
Earlier on BBC One, Nature's Miracle Babies grabbed 3.28m (17.3%) from 6pm, Countryfile nabbed 5.84m (24.1%) from 7pm and Antiques Roadshow took 5.65m (20.2%) from 8pm.
Channel 5's Warship sailed away with 630k (2.3%) in the 8pm slot, before Big Brother appealed to 1.34m (4.9%) in the 10pm hour. A screening of From Hell appealed to 614k (4.9%) from 10pm.
A repeat of Top Gear revved up 1.15m (4.8%) on BBC Two in the 7pm hour, before A South American Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby mustered 1.35m (4.8%) from 8pm. Fry's Planet Word enchanted 1.7m (6.2%) from 9pm, and Match of the Day 2 scored with 1.83m (9.4%) from 10pm.
A showing of X-Men Origins: Wolverine attracted 1.93m (7.5%) to Channel 4 from 7pm and 476k (1.7%) on +1. New series Fighting on The Frontlines educated 940k (3.4%) in the 9pm hour and 169k (0.9%) on timeshift. Classic action film Predator thrilled 700k (5.1%) from 10pm and 118k (1.8%) on +1.
Overall, ITV1 dominated primetime with 30.9% (+1: 1.3%) against BBC One's 18.8%. BBC Two came in third with 6%, followed by Channel 4's 5.6% (+1: 1.2%) and Channel 5's 4.3%.
On the multi-channels, Strike Back: Project Dawn continued with 492k (1.8%) on Sky1 in the 9pm hour, while The Fades spooked 390k (2.1%) on BBC Three from 10pm.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional