Strictly return sees viewing figures rise more than a million year-on-year

Overnight figures of 7.7 million for the first live show topple last year’s figures

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Strictly Come Dancing returned to BBC last night with more than a million extra viewers tuning in compared to the equivalent show last year.

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The glitter-filled episode saw an average of 7.7 million viewers watch the first six of this year’s celebrities perform their first dance, with a peak of 7.9 million. This is up more than a million on last year’s 6.5 million average, with the show earning a 36.4% audience share. Piers Morgan’s Life Stories with John Lydon on ITV broadcast at the same time, drawing in an average of 1.8 million.

The figure is down on Strictly’s initial launch show earlier this month – when the celebrities were paired with their professional partners – which enjoyed an average of 8.7 million viewers. But with another show tonight – and a further nine dances to be seen – the weekend’s stats look set to be rather peachy. 

High praise on the night went to Call the Midwife star Helen George, who waltzed her way to the top of the leaderboard. Countryfile presenter Anita Rani was showered with compliments for her high-energy performance with new professional Gleb Savchenko. And while some of the comments regarding weather presenter Carol Kirkwood weren’t all sunny and bright (cough, Craig Revel Horwood) she’s, as expected, proven to be popular with the crowd, which bodes well for the public votes.

Tonight, Peter Andre, Jeremy Vine and Jamelia are among those taking to the ballroom floor for the first time. Here’s hoping the costume department is working on reinforcing the men’s trousers after boxer Anthony Ogogo’s split mid-jive last night.

Strictly will not go head-to-head with The X Factor on Saturday night for a month as Simon Cowell’s talent show airs on Sundays thanks to the Rugby World Cup. But the two contests will clash next weekend (4th October) as Strictly’s results show is broadcast from 7:15-8pm on the Sunday evening, while The X Factor airs from 7-9pm.

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Strictly Come Dancing continues tonight at 6.15pm on BBC1

Tickets are still available for the Radio Times Festival which continues on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th September