Downton Abbey return delivers highest-rating opener so far

'Downton Abbey' returned with an average audience of 9.5 million last night, the biggest audience to date for a series opener of the period drama.

Downton Abbey: recorded an average audience of 9.5 million on Sunday
Downton Abbey: recorded an average audience of 9.5 million on Sunday

According to unofficial overnight figures, the average audience across ITV, ITV HD and ITV +1 was 9.54 million. If ITV +1 is excluded, the average audience was 9.16 million, a 38.1 per cent share.

The peak audience for the episode was 10.5 million across all three channels.

The Tesco Finest-sponsored show is in its fourth series.

Last night's episode of 'The X Factor' had an average audience of 9.83 million across ITV, ITV HD and ITV +1 and a peak audience of 10.8 million. Without ITV +1, the average was 9.42 million, a 37.4 per cent share.

Meanwhile, the first 'The X Factor' episode of the weekend achieved a peak audience of 9.7 million viewers on Saturday night, making it the most-watched show of the day.

Over the course of the hour-long programme, 'The X Factor' had an average audience of 8.83 million viewers, a 40 per cent share, across ITV, ITV HD and ITV +1. Without the contribution of ITV +1, the show's average audience was 8.46 million.

Last year, the final week of audition episodes only had one show, on the Saturday. It had an average audience of nine million, just ahead of this week's, although it had the same share, at 40 per cent.

TalkTalk sponsors 'The X Factor'.

Over on BBC One, 'When Miranda Met Bruce', which featured comedian and actress Miranda Hart interviewing Bruce Forsyth, attracted an average audience of 4.08 million between 7.30pm and 8.40pm, a 19.6 per cent share.

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