The brand new series of Strictly kicked off at 7PM on BBC One with its usual pre-recorded launch show.
The opening episode saw this year's celebrities introduced before being partnered up with the pro dancers, while there was also a touching tribute to the late Sir Bruce Forsyth.
An average audience of 8.8 million viewers watched it all, making it Strictly's second most watched launch ever. It was only down on last year's series where 9.3 million tuned in.
However there was no clash with The X Factor last year, with the ITV singing talent show last night overlapping Strictly by 40 minutes.
Strictly launch ratings
2017: 8.8 million
2016: 9.3 million
2015: 8.7 million
2014: 8.4 million
2013: 8.4 million
2012: 8 million
2011: 7.6 million
2010: 7.1 million
The X Factor came off second best in the battle with 5.6 million viewers, down over two million viewers year-on-year when the two shows avoided each other.
Last week saw The X Factor premiere with 6.2 million viewers, climbing to 6.5 million for Sunday's episode.
The X Factor continues Saturday and Sunday nights on ITV whereas Strictly will take a two week break before it's first live show. It's not yet clear if the two will clash again on Saturday and Sunday nights.
Elsewhere last night, ITV's new game show Cannonball dropped 1.4 million viewers week-on-week as it went head to head with Strictly. The wacky physical game show had 1.8 million viewers compared to 3.2 million for its debut episode last Saturday.
The Family Chase on the other hand kept steady with 2.5 million viewers, just losing out to Pointless Celebrities with 2.8 million on BBC One.
Earlier on the BBC, Len Goodman's Partners In Rhyme rose slightly from last week's low, climbing to 1.4 million viewers.