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Liz Jaques 

TV Overnights: Royal wedding attracts 26m viewers

The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton

The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton attracted one of the biggest audiences in UK television history.

A combined peak audience of more than 26 million viewers tuned in to watch the couple exchange vows on Friday morning (across BBC One, ITV1, BBC News, Sky News and Sky Living) - as well as all the viewers crowded around public screens, including the hundreds of thousands gathered in Hyde Park.

Over 93% of the available audience watched the ceremony, according to Barb estimates.

BBC One's coverage peaked with more than 19.1 million viewers. The Beeb banked an average audience share of 32.6% during the actual ceremony at Westminster Abbey. Meanwhile, ITV1's ratings hit a high of 5.4 million viewers (the broadcaster secured a 19.3% average share).

However, the wedding failed to attract the highest audience of all time - coming behind England's 1966 World Cup win (32.3 million viewers); Princess Diana's funeral (32.1 million); Eastenders - when Den divorced Angie (30.1 million); and Charles and Diana's wedding (28.4 million).

William and Kate's big day is expected to have been watched by a global audience of around two billion people.

The bank holiday weekend also saw ratings success for the BBC's World Championship Snooker coverage; ITV1's Britain's Got Talent (which peaked with 9.2 million viewers on Saturday night) and the channel's new four-part Brenda Blethyn series Vera (which attracted over 5.4 million peak viewers on Sunday night).

The BBC's Live Snooker continued in to bank holiday Monday, pulling in a high of more than 2.5 million viewers during the afternoon slot. However, Eastenders secured the highest ratings of the day - peaking with 9.4 million viewers during the 8pm to 8.30pm slot.

On ITV1, Coronation Street and Emmerdale dominated the early evening schedule, before the new two-part thriller Case Sensitive banked the majority of the all-important peak-hour ratings with a high of 5.3 million viewers. In the final fifteen minutes of the 9pm to 10pm slot, BBC Two's Snooker coverage took over with 5.1 million viewers.

Overnight data is available each morning in's TV Database, with all BARB registered subscribers able to view reports for terrestrial networks and key multi-channel stations.

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