Strictly Come Dancing started a few minutes later on Saturday night after relegating Boris Johnson to another BBC channel so viewers could get their dancing fix.
The popular dancing series followed a press conference on BBC One during which the Prime Minister announced a new lockdown for England.
As the start of Strictly approached at 7.10pm, Mr Johnson’s Downing Street address moved to the BBC News channel to make way.
EastEnders star Maisie Smith and YouTuber HRVY jointly led the way with a total of 49 points each, combined from this week and last week.
Boxer Nicola Adams was in second with 45 while Ranvir Singh and Caroline Quentin were joint third with 42 apiece.
Jacqui Smith sat in last place with just 25.
Co-host Tess Daly opened the show, which has returned with strict Covid-19 measures, saying: “On a tough night we are going to try our very best to keep you entertained.”
The Wanted’s Max George and his professional partner Dianne Buswell were the first couple to take to the dance floor as they performed a jive, scoring 20 out of a possible 30.
Radio DJ Clara Amfo and Aljaz Skorjanec performed a Viennese Waltz, during which Amfo’s black netted skirt got caught in her shoe momentarily, earning 17 points.
Comedian Bill Bailey, former Royal Marine JJ Chalmers and reality TV star Laing all later danced for the judges – Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse.
HRVY impressed with a Viennese waltz alongside Janette Manrara.
Mabuse, who last week awarded the couple a nine for their jive, said HRVY was a “diamond in the sky” as she praised their routine.
Ballas said “the potential in this partnership is to the moon and back”.
The couple scored 24, including another nine from Mabuse.
Similarly, soap star Maisie Smith’s tango with Gorka Marquez was praised by Craig Revel Horwood, who told her “you are an exceptional dancer my darling”.
The couple scored a nine from Ballas and a total of 25.
However, Jacqui Smith and fan favourite Anton Du Beke did less well with their samba.
Revel Horwood’s feedback included a comment that it had looked like Smith was “limping about, lost at a party somewhere, drunk”.
The couple scored a two from Revel Horwood but ended up with a total of 12.
The first celebrity dancer will be eliminated on Sunday night’s episode.
Fans had earlier voiced their concerns on social media that Strictly would not start on time.
Match Of The Day host Gary Lineker quipped on Twitter: “If this runs any later Boris Johnson could be in a Strictly dance-off.”
Comedian David Baddiel added: “If this announcement holds up Strictly we may finally have a revolution.”
And BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire said: “Downing St knows Strictly starts at ten past 7, yes?”
The delay also caused the semi-final of Little Mix The Search to be postponed until next week.
The talent show, in which bands compete for a place on the pop group’s 2021 tour, was knocked from the schedule and will now air as part of a “big final event weekend”.
A statement on Twitter said: “Little Mix The Search has been postponed tonight for a BBC News special.
“The show will now become part of a big final event weekend, with the semi-final airing at 7pm on Friday 6th November and the final at 6.05pm on Saturday 7th November.”
Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One.