The Britain’s Got Talent final has earned ITV its highest overnight ratings of the year so far, viewing figures reveal.
Sunday night’s final, which was won by Chelsea Pensioner Colin Thackery, was watched by an average of 8.5 million viewers, ITV said.
The episode, which aired from 7.30pm until 10.15pm, had a peak viewing figure of 10.6 million, a high for ITV for 2019.
Viewership remained stable in comparison to last year’s final, which was watched by an average of 8.7 million viewers.
Thackery, 89, received a quarter of the votes cast to be crowned the winner of Britain’s Got Talent.
Voting percentage figures show that the singer, who has won £250,000 and the chance to showcase his talents at the Royal Variety Performance, received 25.3% of votes cast during Sunday night’s finale.
Runner-up, Magician X, who revealed he was actually former contestant Marc Spelmann, received 17.8% of votes, and next was magician Ben Hart who received 10.2%.
It is not yet known if the pensioner will sign a record label deal.
A record industry source said: “The D-Day Darlings came 7th and their album – released on Syco’s partner Sony Music – proved a huge success. And the belief amongst record executives is that Colin has even more commercial potential.
“If he wins and signs, the plan would be to release an album in the next few months.”
Thackery, who performed Love Changes Everything, told the show’s hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly: “I’m stuck for words, for a change.”
He said he would “die happy” if he had the chance to sing for the Queen.
“I served my Queen for 25 years and to think I could sing for her would be the end,” he said.
We cannot believe it! #ChelseaPensioner Colin is this year's winner! He has worked so hard and done so well to win the #BGT final. Congratulations to all the other acts also. Thank you to everyone who voted and supported Colin over the past weeks. #ColinsGotTalentpic.twitter.com/aCsexj56KD
— The Chelsea Pensioners (@RHChelsea) June 2, 2019
Thackery told ITV’s This Morning on Monday that he plans to spend his winnings on the Royal Hospital Chelsea retirement home, as well as on his family.
He told the programme: “First of all the hospital, because we are a charity you know, and we’re always collecting for something. And we’ve got a new centre that we’re wanting to build, a visitors’ centre, an activity centre. I’d love to think that I set the whole thing off.
“And of course I’ve got family, I’ve got grandchildren wanting to get on the property ladder and all that sort of thing.”
Of winning a spot at the Royal Variety Performance, he said: “That is the zenith, that’s the ultimate.”
Magician X was runner-up after shocking the judges by revealing he was actually former contestant Marc Spelmann, who appeared in the 2018 series but failed to make it to the final.
A total of 11 acts competed in the final, with 10 making it through during this week’s live semi-finals and one act, dance duo Libby and Charlie, were picked as the judges’ wildcard.
The young dancers had stepped in during the semi-finals to replace magicians Brotherhood after they were forced to withdraw from the competition.
The final also included performances from former contestants Diversity and Susan Boyle – who sang a duet with Michael Ball.