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BBC's 'Strictly Come Dancing' Beats ITV's 'X Factor' in U.K. Sunday Average Ratings

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UPDATED: ITV1 drew the night's biggest average audience with "Downton Abbey," and "X Factor" had the highest peak ratings.

LONDON - Downton Abbey and X Factor on U.K. commercial broadcaster ITV1 and BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing continue to dominate the weekend ratings in Britain. But Strictly for the first time beat out X Factor on Sunday in terms of average viewership when excluding the audience of the latter's instant repeat.

The Sunday night live results show of music competition X Factor drew a peak audience of 10.7 million viewers, winning the peak ratings battle for the night after losing out to the BBC celebrity dance show, which peaked at 10.1 million, on Saturday. The ITV data for X Factor included viewership on catch-up network ITV1+1, which airs shows with a delay of an hour.

But the latest episode of costume drama Downton Abbey on ITV1 Sunday night won the battle for the biggest average audience with 9.5 million viewers (and a 10.1 million peak). The average audience for X Factor and Strictly on Sunday amounted to 9.2 million each, but the latter would have won when excluding the ITV1+1 audience.

Strictly has regularly beaten X Factor in terms of Saturday average viewers, but the Sunday win was a first for the show.


On Saturday, Strictly continued to outperform the Simon Cowell music show. It reached an average audience of 9.6 million with a peak viewership of 10.8 million that night. That compared to 8.4 million and 9.4 million, respectively, for X Factor.

Downton Abbey has continued to do well this season, even though overnight ratings have at times been below year-ago figures. But the show drew a higher average viewership for its first four episodes of the third season than last season when adding non-live viewership over the first seven days.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai