'I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here' launches with record audience

'The Only Way Is Essex'-star Mark Wright and actress Stefanie Powers helped 'I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here' get off to its best opening audience in nine years last night.

Stefanie Powers: joins I'm A Celebrity on ITV
Stefanie Powers: joins I'm A Celebrity on ITV

The celebrity reality competition sends eight celebrities to the Australian bush where they have to complete bush tucker trials, such as eating bugs and putting on a glass helmet filled with creepy crawlies such as cockroaches, beetles and spiders.

According to unofficial overnight figures, a peak of 12.5 million watched the show on ITV1 and ITV1 HD. When ITV1 +1 is included the peak was 12.9 million, ahead of a peak of 12.5 million for the first show last year.

Between 9pm and 10.30pm the show had an average audience of 11.49 million viewers on ITV1 and ITV1 HD, a 42.5% share, up from 11.2 million in 2010. Including the time-shifted ITV1 +1 the average audience was 11.76 million.

There was more good news for ITV as ‘The X Factor’ achieved its highest audience this series last night, as Kitty Brucknell was evicted after judges Tulisa Contostavlos, Kelly Rowland and Gary Barlow voted to save Misha B.

The results show had a peak audience of 14.6 million viewers across ITV1 and ITV1 HD and 14.8 million including ITV1 +1, the highest audience so far this series but down significantly from last year’s 17.7 million.

Between 8pm and 9pm last night ‘The X Factor’ had an average audience of 12.49 million, a 41.9% share, on ITV1 and ITV1 HD. An additional average of 166,000 watched the show on ITV1 +1.

The BBC’s big celebrity competition ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ had an average audience of 10.70 million viewers last night on BBC One and BBC One HD between 7.30pm and 8pm, a 38.9% share of the audience.

Amelia Lily’s return to ‘The X Factor’ helped ITV to a peak audience of 11.8 million viewers on Saturday night, although a power cut at the BT Tower delayed the live broadcast for 15 minutes.

Last week it was announced that following the departure of Frankie Cocozza last week, the duo 2 Shoes and singers James Michael, Jonjo Kerr and Lily returned to the show on Saturday to compete for Cocozza’s place on the show.

When viewers tuned in to watch the live show at 8.15pm on Saturday night they were greeted by recorded highlights of the show because of a power cut from the BT Tower, the site of ITV’s transmitter.

A spokesman for BT said: "We can confirm there was an unusual power spike on Saturday evening which disrupted services from the BT Tower for a short time. We are looking into the circumstances behind the outage."

The Saturday night episode of ‘The X Factor’ had a peak audience of 11.8 million on ITV1 and ITV1 HD (or 12.1 million and a 46% share including ITV+1), down from 14.6 million for the same episode last year but up from last week’s 11 million.

Across the whole show ‘The X Factor’ had an average audience of 10.58 million viewers on ITV1 and ITV1 HD on Saturday night, a 40.9% share of the audience. An additional average 252,400 viewers watched the show on ITV1 +1.

Last year the equivalent Saturday night show had an average audience of 13.5 million, a 53% share.

Unlike earlier in the series there was no overlap between ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and ‘The X Factor’ this week. ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ had an audience of 10.26 million viewers between 7pm and 8.15pm on BBC One and BBC One HD, a 40.7% share.

Earlier on Saturday evening ITV1's live coverage of the England football team’s 1-0 win against World Cup champions Spain peaked with 8.6 million viewers (8.8 million including ITV1+1).

Across ITV’s coverage from 4.45pm to 7.15pm ITV1 and ITV1 HD had an average audience of 6.31 million, a 31.0% share. An additional 63,400 viewers watched the coverage on ITV1 +1.

Follow Maisie McCabe on Twitter @MaisieMcCabe