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'The Only Way Is Essex', 'Downton Abbey' are ratings winners

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TOWIE top moments: Lauren Pope and Kirk Norcross

© WENN / Stuart Castle

The Only Way Is Essex returned strongly to ITV2 on Sunday night, while Downton Abbey again outgunned Spooks, the latest audience data has shown.

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

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