The X Factor won the Saturday night ratings battle against Strictly Come Dancing as the two programmes went live for the first time this year – but only by the narrowest of margins.

The ITV1 show reached a peak audience of 10.3m as the 12 finalists – joined by wild card winner Christopher Maloney – took to the stage for the first time.

However Strictly was snapping at its heels with peak viewing figurs of 10.2m – suggesting that the two shows will be set for some serious rivalry in the weeks to come.

And the two shows were neck and neck when it came to average audiences, with overnight estimates suggesting that an average of 8.7m tuned in to both.

A statement from ITV revealed that the channel had been the most watched during Saturday night peak-time, with an average audience of 7.4m between 7pm and 10.30pm.

Friday’s Strictly Come Dancing – which was screened from 9-10pm on BBC One – also performed well, with a peak audience of 8.6m watching the likes of Denise van Outen and Victoria Pendleton take to the floor.

The two shows did not overlap this Saturday night, with Strictly beginning at 6.30pm and ending at 7.45pm – fifteen minutes before The X Factor began.

However reports suggest that there will be an overlap of five minutes next Saturday night.

The X Factor’s first results show of the series, featuring live performances from Leona Lewis and Ne-Yo, will be screened at 8pm on Sunday night.

However Strictly’s first results show – featuring the return of the ‘dance-off’ – is not until next Sunday.