Entertainment & Arts

Usain Bolt Olympic win watched by 20 million

Usain Bolt
Image caption More than 20 million viewers watched Usain Bolt win the Men's 100m final on Sunday

Usain Bolt's win in the men's 100 metre final was watched by more than 20 million viewers, the BBC has confirmed.

The Jamaican sprinter's victory brought in the highest audience of live sporting action so far this Olympics.

Between 21:50 and 21:55 on Sunday, 19.4 million viewers watched on BBC One as Bolt won his second 100m gold.

Another 628,000 viewers saw the final on the dedicated games channel BBC Olympics 3, while a further 66,000 watched in 3D on the BBC HD channel.

The final was the culmination of a weekend of high viewing figures for the BBC.

Mo Farah's 10,000m success on "Super Saturday" drew in 17.1 million viewers, while Jessica Ennis winning gold in the heptathlon was watched by 16.3 million.

Earlier on Sunday a peak audience of 10.7 million watched Andy Murray make history at Wimbledon by becoming Great Britain's first men's singles gold medal winner in 104 years.

But it was the BBC's primetime Olympic coverage between 18:45 and 22.15 on Sunday that drew the highest audience.

Christine Ohuruogu's silver medal-winning performance in the women's 400m was watched by a peak of 16.7 million viewers.

The entire three-and-a-half hour programme averaged 17.3 million viewers, representing a 61.5% share of the terrestrial TV audience.

Figures also show that across the whole day, BBC One was the dominant channel with a 42.7% share of the audience.

Unsurprisingly the commercial broadcasters, which did not show any Olympics action, saw their ratings dip on Sunday.

ITV1 had a 4.8% share of all TV viewing, while Channel 4 and Five each had a 3.5% share.

BBC Two's share of the audience on Sunday reached 5.2%.

Modern methods

The Olympics opening ceremony remains the BBC's most watched programme of the Games so far, peaking at 26.9 million.

The average viewing figure for the four-hour show, broadcast on BBC One and BBC HD, was 22.4 million, making it the UK's 13th most watched programme ever.

The programme also had an 82% share - almost twice that of Barcelona 1992, the previous high for an Olympic opening ceremony.

The biggest audience ever in the UK for a single programme remains the 30.5 million who saw EastEnders on 25 December 1986, though the figures were compiled differently at that time.

Modern methods of recording audience numbers were introduced in 1981, and figures for older programmes are hard to pin down.

However, some researchers maintain that the 1966 World Cup final between England and Germany drew 32.3m viewers.

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