'Downton Abbey' Beats 'X Factor' in U.K. Ratings for First Time This Season

Downton Abbey Season 5 Trailer Still - H 2014

BBC dance show 'Strictly Come Dancing' widens its ratings lead over the Simon Cowell show

BBC ballroom dancing competition Strictly Come Dancing continued growing its Sunday overnight ratings lead over the U.K. version of The X Factor on ITV, while the ratings for ITV hit drama Downton Abbey exceeded those of the Simon Cowell music competition for the first time this season.

Downton Abbey, from NBCUniversal-owned Carnival Films, attracted an average audience of 8.34 million, up from 7.83 million the previous week, according to ratings consultancy Attentional. The figure included the audience for an immediate replay of the latest episode on a catch-up channel. Even without that replay, the show drew an average of 8 million viewers. The performance made it the night's second-most-watched show on British TV, as its average ratings overtook those for The X Factor.

Read more 'Downton Abbey' Draws Lowest U.K. Season Premiere Ratings Since 2010

Strictly was up 180,000 viewers compared to last Sunday, with an average audience of 9.72 million, Attentional said. That was the biggest U.K. audience of the night. The X Factor? dropped minimally from the previous Sunday to an average audience of 7.82 million, further widening the ratings lead of Strictly.

Two Sundays ago, The X Factor had beaten the BBC dancing competition in the ratings for the first time this season by reaching 8.8 million viewers, compared with 8.5 million. The ratings win for the music competition's first live results show of the season was helped by performances from Pharrell Williams and Taylor Swift, but Strictly Come Dancing has since consistently won the ratings showdown again.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai