Strictly thrashes X Factor in the ratings as shows go head to head.

Strictly Come Dancing thrashed X Factor in the ratings last night as the two shows went head to head in the schedules.

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8.5 million people watched Strictly, as this year's celebrities were introduced to their professional dance partners for the first time.

Meanwhile on itv, Cowell's X Factor could only manage 5.6 million - that's around half the audience who tuned into the show at the height of its popularity.

Even Cowell's £10milion signing Robbie Williams has done nothing to halt a decline in ratings

Even Cowell's £10milion signing Robbie Williams has done nothing to halt a decline in ratings

The BBC haven't yet confirmed the timing for this year's Strictly live shows, which don't start until 22 September but if X Factor's ratings continue to decline, itv may find themselves being forced to change their schedules to avoid any clashes.