16/04/2018 08:43 BST

'Britain's Got Talent' Ratings: First Episode Is ITV's Most-Watched Entertainment Show Of 2018

Do you hear that? That's Simon Cowell breathing a sigh of relief.

It might be into its twelfth year, but ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ is showing no signs of slowing down, following its series launch over the weekend.

On Saturday (14 April), the new series kicked off on ITV, with the opening episode swiftly becoming the channel’s most-watched entertainment show of the year so far.

As revealed by Telly Mix, an average of 8.3 million people tuned in to see the first round of auditions this weekend, with a peak of 9.6 million over the course of the 85-minute episode.

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The 'BGT' team at this year's auditions

While this is both great news for ITV and the show’s boss, Simon Cowell, this actually marks a drop in ratings year-on-year, with the 2017 launch bringing in 400,000 more than this year’s series debut.

The episode has already given us a number of memorable audition moments, including golden buzzer magician Marc Spelmann and the introduction of DVJ, a spin-off of dance troupe Diversity, who won ‘BGT’ almost a decade ago, back in 2009.

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Marc Spelmann discovers he's won a place at this year's live shows

Ant McPartlin also took on presenting duties, as this year’s auditions were filmed prior to his arrest for drink-driving, after which he revealed he was stepping away from work commitments for the foreseeable future to return to treatment.

It was recently announced that his regular co-host, Declan Donnelly, will present this year’s live shows alone, having previously won rave reviews from viewers when he flew solo for the final two episodes of ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’ earlier this month.

‘Britain’s Got Talent’ continues on Saturday (21 April) at 8pm on ITV.

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