15.9m viewers make Bake Off final most watched programme for four years

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The final of this year's Great British Bake Off has become the most-watched programme on television since 2012.

A total of 15.9 million people saw Candice Brown win the BBC cookery competition, new figures show.

It is the biggest TV audience recorded in the UK since the London Olympics and almost one million higher than last year's final.

It also puts this year's Bake Off final in the top 10 most-watched programmes of the decade.

The news caps a remarkable 2016 for the hit show.

Every episode of the latest series was watched by more than 13 million people, making it the most popular in Bake Off's seven-year history.

Bake Off also occupies every spot in the top 10 most-watched TV broadcasts of the year.

The figures, published by research body Barb, highlight just how much of a loss Bake Off will prove for the BBC.

The 2016 series was the last to be broadcast on BBC One before the programme moves to Channel 4.

Hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, along with judge Mary Berry, have said they will not stay with the show.

Fellow judge Paul Hollywood will appear in the new version, however, and Channel 4 will be hoping he can help Bake Off hold on to its huge audience when it switches networks.

The most-watched programme on Channel 4 so far this year is an episode of Gogglebox broadcast in February, which pulled in 5.8 million viewers.

This is roughly a third of the number who saw the Bake Off final.

Here is a list of the 10 biggest TV audiences of the decade so far, compiled by the Press Association from figures published by Barb:

1. Olympics 2012 closing ceremony (August 12 2012), BBC1: 24.5 million

2. Olympics 2012 opening ceremony (July 27 2012), BBC1: 24.2 million

3. Euro 2012: England v Italy (June 24 2012), BBC1: 20.3 million

4. The X Factor (December 12 2010), ITV: 17.7 million

5. Olympics 2012: men's 100m final (August 5 2012), BBC1: 17.3 million

6. Euro 2012: England v Ukraine (June 19 2012), ITV: 16.4 million

7. The X Factor (November 21 2010), ITV: 16.1 million

8. The Great British Bake Off (October 26 2016), BBC1: 15.9 million

9. World Cup 2010: England v Germany (June 27 2010), BBC1: 15.8 million

10. The X Factor (November 14 2010), ITV: 15.7 million

:: All figures are consolidated ratings and include people watching catch-up services