Some 9.46m (a 36.3% share) watched the latest episode of ITV's hit period drama in the 9pm hour, while 254k (1%) caught the show on ITV1 +1 an hour later.
Meanwhile, The X Factor pulled in a steady 9.37m (35.3%) in the 8pm slot, adding 345k (2%) on +1 as Rylan Clark survived another week at the expense of Melanie Masson.
Strictly Come Dancing's half-hour results show, which culminated with the departure of Johnny Ball, drew 8.06m (32.5%) at 7pm.
However, ITV's late scheduling of an hour-long Coronation Street in the 7pm slot, which attracted 6.24m (25.3%), would have dented Strictly. Tracy Barlow's pregnancy bombshell in Corrie was seen by a further 484k (1.8%) on +1.
After Strictly on BBC One, Countryfile commanded a strong 6.44m (25.4%) at 7.30pm, then 4.51m (19.8%) watched The Antiques Roadshow, and Andrew Marr's History of the World stumbled on with 2.6m (11.3%) at 9.30pm.
Elsewhere, Homeland dipped to 1.83m (7%) at 9pm (+1: 415k/2.3%) and Friday Night Dinner's problems deepened as the sitcom mustered 715k (3.6%) at 19pm (+1: 114k/1.2%). Kevin McCloud's Man Made Home interested 1.42m (5.4%) earlier at 8pm (+1: 248k/0.9%).
Rocky Balboa's Channel 5 screening probably knocked Channel 4, with 1.1m (5.1%) watching the classic film between 9pm and 11.15pm (+1: 104k/0.8%). The Richard Desmond broadcaster's late-afternoon airing of A Bug's Life performed even better, enthralling 1.57m (10.2%) from 4.30pm (+1: 212k/1.1%).
Overall, ITV1 strolled to victory with a primetime share of 29.6% (+1: 1.2%), comfortably above BBC One's 19.9%. BBC Two and Channel 4 tied in third place with 5.4% (C4+1: 1.2%), while Channel 5 had 4.4% (+1: 0.5%).
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional