Strictly Come Dancing viewing figures for this year’s opening episode peaked at 8.5 million on BBC One on Saturday night.
This represents a fall of 1.5 million, or 15%, on last year’s opener, which peaked at 10 million.
Strictly, which aired between 7pm and 9.20pm, averaged 7.7 million viewers, compared with an average of 8.9 million the previous year. This is a 13.5% year-on-year decrease, with audience share falling to 44.9% from 47.3%.
The show, hosted by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, returns on Saturday (28 September) at 6.40pm. This series' first results show will air on Sunday at 7.15pm, when the first celebrity will depart.
Primetime rival The X Factor, which airs on ITV, has lost its ratings crown to Strictly in recent years, but is preparing for a major assault this year that will involve an overhauled format. The revamped programme will involve two formats – a celebrity version and a champions edition – but not a "standard" competition.