Almost 27 million people tuned in to watch the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony last night.

According to the BBC, 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 representative for the network 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 was viewed by 5.9 million UK audience, while 10.7 million tuned in for the start of the Athens Olympics in 2002.

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.