Italian players celebrate their victory (Image: Insidefoto /Sipa USA/Andrea Staccioli)

Live sport reigns, OK! Now this is an audience: Italy’s triumph over England in the Euro 2020 certainly grabbed eyeballs in the UK on Sunday night. TV ratings show that at the peak -- when the penalty shootout started after extra time -- a total of 30.95 million people were watching. That free-to-air overnight audience combined both those watching on BBC One (25 million peak) and ITV (6 million peak), and is among the highest ratings in British broadcasting history, according to UK ratings organisation BARB. It doesn’t include online viewing data which is not yet available.

BARB data shows it topped the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony (27 million peak) and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s coronavirus lockdown address (28 million) in March last year. An average of 29.85 million watched the whole game, making it the highest TV audience since Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997.

In Australia the first part of the final of MasterChef gathered 1.03 million national viewers, but the latest ep of Farmer Wants a Wife just topped it with 1.073 million. Seven took the night narrowly from Nine and Ten. Nine News’ Sydney 6 to 6.30pm averaged 408,000 -- the highest figure for any program and one of the largest for some time for a 6pm news broadcast. More than 110,000 extra people watched the breakfast and morning programs yesterday -- 48,000 extra for the ABC's News Breakfast.