By Sara Evans

Jessica Ennis_in_800m_London_2012_August_4_2012August 5 - London 2012 is setting record television viewing figures across the world, statistics announced today reveal.

The number of BBC viewers tuning in to watch London 2012 has surpassed those recorded for Beijing 2008 with Mo Farah's 10,000 metre triumph drawing the largest audience of the Olympics so far.

According to the BBC, the Briton's race to glory pulled in a peak audience of 17.1 million at 9.45pm last night across BBC One and BBC Olympics broadcasts.

The second most watched event was the climax of the heptathlon won by the unofficial face of London 2012 Jessica Ennis, drawing in 16.3 million viewers three quarters of an hour earlier at 9pm.

Watched by 15.6 million viewers, Britain's Greg Rutherford's gold medal winning long jump was the third most highly watched achievement of the Games via the BBC One and BBC Olympics platforms.

Danny Boyle's London 2012 Opening Ceremony also proved to be a winner, attracting an unprecedented average audience of 22.4 million with a five-minute peak of 26.9 million and 15 minute peak of 26.7 million.

Four years' earlier, the Beijing 2008 Opening Ceremony attracted far fewer numbers when the BBC audience averaged just 5.1 million with a five-minute peak of 5.9 million and 15 minute peak of 5.4 million.

Mo Farah_of_Great_Britain_crosses_the_line_in_London_2012_10000mMo Farah crosses the finishing line to win Great Britain their first gold in 10,000m

Prior to this Summer's Games, the most widely viewed Opening Ceremony was Barcelona's in 1992, pulling in an average audience of 11.3 million.

In the United States, NBC's coverage of the first eight nights of London 2012 has set more records.

The network said each night. including the Opening Ceremony, has averaged 28.5 million viewers or more for the first time in the history of televised Olympics.

Additionally the overall eight-night average of 34.5 million viewers is the highest for the first eight nights of any non-US Summer Olympics in 36 years, according to data provided by the Nielsen Co. and NBC.

Over in Canada, London 2012 audiences are also on the up, with the country's Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium recording an 89 per cent increase over Beijing 2008 during days four to six of the Games.

From the start of the 2012 Games to date, 29.4 million Canadians – or 87.4 per cent of the population – has watched some Olympic coverage on Consortium channels.

The Consortium has also reported that a higher number of younger viewers are tuning into this Summer's Olympics, with typical audiences in the 12-24 demographic tripling and double that of Beijing 2008.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
August 2012: Let's raise a glass to Jess, Mo and Greg on a truly historic night of gold for British athletics