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IT'S STRICTLY WAR; BBC move dance show and Doctor Who in a ratings battle with Cowell.

Byline: Kate McMahon

BBC and ITV are heading for an all-out Saturdaynight ratings war, with Strictly Come Dancing and Doctor Who facing off against X Factor.

B e e b b o s s e s a r e determined to t rounce Simon Cowell's juggernaut after Strictly was pushed into second place by the ITV1 talent show last year.

Insider s reckon that moving hal f of the sixth series of Doctor Who to the Autumn and bringing back Strictly's Sunday results show will relegate the X Factor to second place.

Doctor Who showrunner Stephen Moffatt, of Paisley, revealed the showdown plans yesterday at the Edinburgh Television Festival.

Rather than air ing 13 episodes in the spring, seven episodes will be broadcast, ending on what he called "the biggest cliffhanger in Doctor Who's history".

Doozie The shocking resolution to the "ear th-shat tering climax" will air as part of a six-episode autumn run, starting at the same time Strictly and X Factor begin.

Mof fat t sa i d of t he storyline: "It will change the Doctor and Amy Pond forever. I think it's going to be a doozie. I know exactly what the cl i f fhanger is, word for word.

"I'm very excited about this change. There is an age inbetween series as it stands - with this, you are never going to be more than three months from the new series of Doctor Who."

The sci-f i smash has traditionally been shown on a Saturday at around 6pm since its triumphant BBC1 comeback in 2005 and attracts an audience of eight million viewers.

It's hoped this lead-in will give a flying start to Strictly Come Da nc i ng. I T V, meanwhile, normally screen episodes of Harry Hill, which has an audience of about 6million viewers, before the X Factor.

Strictly and the X Factor went head-to-head for the f irst t ime last year, wit h Strictly's ratings plummeting as a result.

Beeb bosses lost out so badly to ITV1, they were forced to move Strictly to an earlier time slot.

A ratings clash would be avoided if X Factor aired slightly later in the year than usual - and Cowell is said to be looking at several such sceduling options, to fit in with the launch of X Factor USA.

But insiders warn that a clash is inevitable, with viewers being the ultimate losers.

An ITV source said: "The viewers are the ones that will miss out if they are forced to choose one of their favourites over another."


SHOWDOWN: Cowell CHANGE: The Doctor
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 30, 2010
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