Dancing On Ice proved a ratings hit for ITV1 pulling in almost 10 million viewers, according to unofficial overnight figures.

More than 9.9 million people tuned into the launch of the third series of ITV1’s skating reality show in its new Sunday night slot.

Presented by Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, the show was watched by an average of 8.9 million viewers – a 36 per cent share of the audience – for its first instalment between 5.50pm and 7.50pm, peaking at 9.9 million in the 15 minutes from 7.30pm.

The second edition of the night, in which former Blue Peter presenter Sarah Greene was eliminated in the Skate-Off, attracted 7.7 million viewers – a 28 per cent share – between 8.50pm and 9.20pm.

Heartbeat, which was sandwiched between the two episodes, also picked up 7.7 million viewers.

Over on BBC1, new period drama Lark Rise To Candleford attracted 6.7 million viewers (a 24 per cent share) at 7.40pm while the concluding part of Sense And Sensibility drew 6.1 million (22 per cent) in the hour from 8.40pm.

Documentary Louis Theroux: Behind Bars was watched by 5.3 million viewers on BBC2 (a 20 per cent share) in the 9pm hour.