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July 28, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

An average audience of 27 million watched Friday night’s BBC telecast of the Olympics’ opening ceremony, peaking at 9:50 p.m. with 26.9 million, the BBC said today (Saturday). The figures represented 82.5 percent of British viewers and was the biggest audience for a BBC program since 1996, when a Christmas episode of the British sitcom Only Fools and Horses was watched by 24.4 million. BBC1 controller Danny Cohen said in a statement: “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. [Director] Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was an absolute triumph!” Nevertheless, the telecast fell far short of the record holder — England’s 1966 victory in the World Cup, which drew an audience of 32.3 million. It also paled in comparison with the 30.15 million who tuned in to a Christmas edition of the nighttime soap Eastenders in 1986, the biggest audience in the U.K. for a non sports-competition telecast.