Strictly Come Dancing launch is most-watched opening episode in BBC show's history

BBC One's launch for this year's Strictly Come Dancing series pulled in an average of 8.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched opening episode of the show's 13-year history.

Peter Andre: joins the dancers on Strictly Come Dancing
Peter Andre: joins the dancers on Strictly Come Dancing

The 13th series of Strictly, which launched on Saturday 5 September, achieved a 41.7 per cent share for its time slot.

The first episode of the new series paired 15 celebrities, including former pop star Peter Andre, BBC broadcaster Jeremy Vine and TV chef Ainsley Harriott, with professional dancers. They will now train for the next three weeks.

The celebrity talent show beat ITV's The X Factor which attracted an average audience of 7.5 million, and a 34.5 per cent share. It was shown later in the evening between 8.15pm and 9.30pm.

Last week’s series opener for The X Factor also failed to beat the opening episode of Strictly Come Dancing.

The singing talent show, which features its creator Simon Cowell, alongside fellow judges Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw, attracted an average audience of 7.1 million people, and a 35.9 per cent share of the overall viewers between 8pm and 9.30pm.

This year’s line-up of celebs and their dance partners for Strictly Come Dancing are:

Ainsley Harriott and Natalie Lowe

Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilana

Jeremy Vine and Karen Clifton

Iwan Thomas and Ola Jordan

Jamelia and Tristan MacManus

Kirsty Gallacher and Brendan Cole

Kellie Bright and Kevin Clifton

Georgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice

Helen George and Aljaž Škorjanec

Daniel O'Donnell and Kristina Rihanoff

Peter Andre and Janette Manrara

Anthony Ogogo and Oti Mabuse

Katie Derham and Anton du Beke

Carol Kirkwood and Pasha Kovalev

Anita Rani and Gleb Savchenko

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