David Tennant's return as Doctor Who topped Saturday night's TV ratings, with eight million viewers, unofficial overnight figures show.
Billie Piper and David Tennant made their comeback on Saturday
Ratings for the sci-fi drama peaked at the end of show, with 8.3 million tuned in to see Tennant as the Time Lord and Billie Piper as his assistant Rose.
Tennant made his debut in the part in a Christmas special.
ITV1 countered with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which pulled in an average of five million viewers.
But the film did beat the BBC's other Saturday night hit, as Strictly Dance Fever attracted just 3.8 million people, as well as Channel 4's Deal or No Deal, with 2.9 million viewers.
A BBC spokesperson said Doctor Who had got off to "brilliant start", adding: "We are really thrilled."
The overnight figures do not include those who recorded programmes to watch later.
Tennant will be seen facing villains including the Cybermen and a character played by comedian Peter Kay.
He replaced Christopher Eccleston, who launched the BBC's revival of the series last year.