TV spectacular draws 26.9m viewers

A UK TV audience of 26.9 million people watched the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony, according to the BBC.

The massive audience tuned in as Danny Boyle's £27 million spectacular took place at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London.

Viewing figures peaked at 26.9 million, while the average was recorded as 22.4 million for the show - which ran from 9pm until 12.50am - with an audience share of 82%.

A BBC spokesman said it was the largest television audience since the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board was introduced in 2002.

The opening ceremony of the Beijing Games four years ago attracted 5.9 million UK viewers, while 10.7 million watched the start of the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Peak viewing figures of 23.2 million were recorded for England's Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy, while 17.1 million watched the Wimbledon final between Andy Murray and Roger Federer.

BBC1 controller Danny Cohen hailed the viewing figures, which represented the biggest audience on the station for a decade.

He said: "BBC1 is all about bringing the nation together for its biggest moments and I'm thrilled by the huge audiences who tuned in to watch last night's historic events.

"Danny Boyle's opening ceremony was an absolute triumph.

"I am very proud of the two BBC Drama films that formed part of the ceremony - the audience response to the film featuring Her Majesty the Queen and James Bond was one of my highlights."