The Olympic closing ceremony on August 12th was the most-watched programme of the year, with an average audience of 24.5 million viewers, despite a mixed critical reception, just ahead of Danny Boyle’s acclaimed opening ceremony on July 27th with 24.2 million viewers.
BBC1’s live coverage of the closing ceremony attracted a bigger average audience than any UK TV show for more than 30 years, since the Barb ratings measurement body began reporting figures in 1981.
England’s Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat by Italy on penalties provided the third most-watched programme of the year, with BBC1’s live coverage on June 24th averaging 20.3 million viewers.
The London Olympics and Euro 2012 provide eight of the top 10 most popular TV shows of the year, interrupted only by BBC1’s Diamond Jubilee concert (sixth, with15.3 million viewers) and ITV1’s Britain’s Got Talent final (ninth with 13.1 million viewers) – the top-rating non-sports or diamond jubilee-related programme.
ITV1’s The X Factor has been the number one rating programme for the past two years, but slips to 20th on the 2012 list, with the highest-rating edition on September 23rd with an average audience of 11.4 million.