An enormous peak audience of 14.5m people tuned in to see Olympic champion and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins awarded BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday night.
The broadcast, which was dominated by Olympic and Paralympic champions, ran from 7:30pm to 10:30pm on BBC1 and averaged 10.6m viewers, a 39.6% share of all those watching television at that time.
The average audience was more than twice the number of people who tuned in to see Mark Cavendish receive the award in 2011, and is the highest audience of the 21st century, easily beating the 8.3m who watched Jonny Wilkinson’s 2003 triumph.
During one of the most competitive Sports Personality contests ever, more than 1.5 million viewers had their say in this year’s public vote which saw Wiggins beating heptathlete and London 2012 gold medallist Jessica Ennis into second place, leaving Olympic tennis champion and US Open winner Andy Murray in third.
Co-hosted by Gary Lineker, Sue Barker and Clare Balding, the ceremony also honoured Lord Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee with a lifetime achievement gong, and awarded Team GB and Paralympics GB the joint team of the year prize.