Strictly and Bake Off give BBC big lead in ITV ratings battle

Jay McGuinness and Aliona Vilani are Strictly finalists. Picture: PA

Jay McGuinness and Aliona Vilani are Strictly finalists. Picture: PA

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BBC1 is on course to triumph over ITV in the battle for the year’s biggest ratings, thanks to hit series such as Strictly Come Dancing and The Great British Bake Off.

More than half of the top 40 most-watched programmes so far in 2015 were broadcast by BBC1. This includes the Bake Off final, which tops the chart with 15 million viewers.

The figures were hailed by BBC1 boss Charlotte Moore as “wonderful” and a reflection of “an incredible year” for the channel.

Just 13 of the top 40 were shown by ITV – though this could change at Christmas with the broadcast of the last episode of Downton Abbey.

The Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (Barb) chart includes all ten episodes of this year’s Bake Off, with seven inside the top ten.

EastEnders appears three times, including both of the 30th anniversary episodes broadcast on 19 February. But it is Strictly which dominates the top 40, appearing 12 times – ahead of its grand final on 19 December.

ITV’s highest entry is the final of Britain’s Got Talent, at No 2 with just under 13 million viewers. The show appears seven times in the chart, while I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!, appears four times.

The X Factor did not make the top 40.

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