Strictly Come Dancing wins ratings war

The BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing trounced ITV1’s X Factor to win their hotly contested ratings war.

At its peak 11.2 million viewers tuned in for the BBC1 show which saw EastEnders star Jill Halfpenny dance her way to victory.

The X Factor peaked at 9.9 million viewers, the BBC said. The show ended in triumph for pub and club singer Steve Brookstein who beat classical quartet G4 to win a recording contract.

ITV conceded the ratings defeat, but claimed peak viewing figures of 10.5 million compared to 11.5 million for the BBC.

The two shows went head to head last night, although the results were broadcast at different times.

A BBC spokesman said Strictly Come Dancing pulled in an average nine million viewers during its early evening broadcast compared to 8.1 million for its competitor.

The figures soared to 10.6 million for Strictly’s results show, compared to an average 9.7 million for the final instalment of the X Factor.

The BBC spokesman said: “To get as high as 11.2 million is pretty incredible.

“I think it is amazing that so many people enjoyed Strictly Come Dancing and saw Jill claim that perfect 40.”

The 29-year-old Geordie actress and her dance partner Darren Bennet beat competitors Julian Clary and Denise Lewis in the live final at Blackpool Tower.

They wowed judges with a jive dance which earned them the perfect score of 40.

Some eight million people voted Steve Brookstein winner of the X Factor, despite harsh criticism from judge Sharon Osborne who described him as “full of crap” and “an average singer”.

Steve, 36, was today preparing to launch his pop career after winning the recording contract with mentor Simon Cowell’s record label.

An X Factor spokeswoman said: “When the show finished Steve signed his contract over a glass of Dom Perignon. Everyone had a drink and celebrated the end of the show and the beginning of his recording career.”

The Londoner will go on an X Factor tour in February along with the show’s other eight finalists: Verity, Tabby, Voices With Soul, 2 To Go, G4, Cassie, Rowetta and Roberta.

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