Strictly speaking, dancing show claims victory, but viewers plunge on last year

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The BBc’s Strictly Come Dancing scored a further ratings victory last night as it beat rival The X Factor for a second night running.

Saturday’s edition of the BBC1 dance contest pulled in an average audience of 8.1 million, while the ITV singing show drew 7.7 million, including viewers of its +1 catch-up channel.

But Strictly was actually down by more than a million on the 9.2 million who tuned in to see the second instalment of the series’ launch last year.

The dance show’s launch on Friday had 700,000 more viewers than The X Factor, after ITV unusually opted to screen an extra edition in a head-to-head clash. Simon Cowell’s show was left with one of its lowest ever audiences, with just 5.8 million.

Saturday night’s X Factor, with the series at the “boot camp” stage, was almost on a par with the 2013 equivalent edition which drew 7.8 million.

Strictly viewers saw pop star Frankie Bridge achieve the highest score of this year’s new celebrity contestants. The Saturdays singer and her dance partner Kevin Clifton impressed the judges with their waltz to Adele’s Someone Like You. Supported in the audience by her bandmates and husband, former England footballer Wayne Bridge, the 25-year-old was praised for her “graceful” performance with an umbrella prop.

With a mark of 30 out of 40, Len Goodman said: “That, without doubt, is the best dance of week one.”

Bruno Tonioli said: “I lived every moment with you. Because one thing is dancing, another thing is giving meaning to what you do.

“What a way to start.”

Craig Revel Horwood said: “Graceful, elegant, romantic,
you followed Kevin’s lead beautifully.”

Darcey Bussell added: “You are a joy to watch.”

After her routine, Bridge said: “It feels like it didn’t happen now, but it felt good.”

The scores are carried over to next week.