Channel clears schedule for games

Banbury Cake: Almost three million viewers tuned in to Channel 4 to see swimmer Ellie Simmonds win gold with a new world record Almost three million viewers tuned in to Channel 4 to see swimmer Ellie Simmonds win gold with a new world record

Channel 4 is clearing its daytime schedule to air more coverage of the London 2012 Paralympics after the station pulled in record viewing figures.

From Monday until the end of the Games, programmes that had been planned to air on More4 in the late afternoon will now go out on the main Channel 4 station.

It comes after 2.9 million viewers tuned in at around 6pm to see 17 year-old swimmer Ellie Simmonds win gold in the S6 400m freestyle with a new world record. It helped make Channel 4 the most watched UK channel between 5.50pm to 6.30pm.

The channel is now set to broadcast daily coverage of the Games from 7am to 11.15pm with a 30-minute break at 7pm for the Channel 4 News.

The channel made the decision after a peak audience of 11.2 million viewers tuned in to see the Paralympic opening ceremony and there has been a peak of more than 3.3 million viewers for the first three days of live sport.

Jay Hunt, Channel 4's chief creative officer, said: "The coverage of the Paralympics has completely captured the public's imagination. We are clearing our schedule to bring viewers even more of this fantastic sport."

Saturday night's live Paralympic Games 2012 Tonight show peaked with 3.3 million viewers at both 8.05pm and 9.25pm with swimming and athletics coverage respectively. The figures rose to 3.5 million if the coverage from the Paralympics Extra live streams are included.

The same day of live sport from the Beijing 2008 Games on the BBC highlights programme averaged 2.1 million and peaked at 2.5 million, Channel 4 said.

It means that the Paralympics' day, which has been dubbed Superhuman Saturday, has helped Channel 4 achieve its biggest Saturday all-day share in seven years.

Channel 4 recorded, on average, an 11.7% share across the day on Saturday - up +113% on the previous 12-month average for Saturdays. The all-day share figure is the highest achieved by Channel 4 on a Saturday since August 27 2005.

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