Doctor Who season 9
Doctor goes missing while Clara seeks his help to fight the mysterious alien force BBC

Many millions tuned in to Doctor Who as it returned to BBC One for a new series, but more chose to watch the X Factor, according to overnight figures. An average 4.6 million viewers watched Peter Capaldi return for his second series playing the Time Lord, compared with 6.8 million for his debut last year. Meanwhile, ITV's X Factor held onto 7.3 million viewers.

The new Doctor Who episode also saw the return of Davros – the creator of the Daleks, and one of Doctor Who's longest-serving nemeses. It also saw the return of Scottish actress Michelle Gomez as Missy, the female reincarnation of the Doctor's enemy The Master.

Although Doctor Who lost the ratings war, reviewers were enthusiastic about its return. Patrick Mulkern of the Radio Times gave the episode five stars: "We're now in the ninth series in 11 years since Doctor Who's revival, and it shows no sign of fatigue. The first episode rattles along with barely a bum note."

While Catherine Gee in The Telegraph described the opening episodes as "packed full of jaw-droppers, one whopper of a cliffhanger and nerdy nods that date back to the time of Tom Baker".

Meanwhile, the X Factor was watched by 7 million – a drop of more than 500,000 compared to last Saturday's figures – as the auditions came to an end.

Viewers saw X Factor judges Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole having an ice-cream fight on the panel, after hopeful ice cream salesman Andy Taylor handed out cones as a gesture of good luck.

Elsewhere on ITV, Keep It in the Family and Through the Keyhole brought in an average of 3.28 million viewers and 2.96 million respectively.

Channel 5's Celebrity Big Brother continued with around 778,000 late on 10.30pm. Football League Tonight pitched in with 343,000 earlier.

The multi-channel ratings were topped by ITV4's coverage of the Rugby World Cup, brought in multi-channel ratings of 1.61 million from 7.15pm in the evening, amd ITV2's The Xtra Factor entertained 417,000 afterwards at 9.30pm.