The London Paralympics Opening Ceremony "attracted an average audience of almost 8 million viewers -- making it one of the most-watched shows in Channel 4's 30-year history," according to John Plunkett of the London GUARDIAN. Wednesday night's "curtain raiser to the 11-day London 2012 Paralympic Games had an average of 7.6 million viewers, a 40% share of the audience," between 8pm London time and its later-than-expected finish around 12:20am. The dramatic Opening Ceremony from the Olympic Stadium in east London, a fortnight after the end of the Olympics, "had a 15-minute peak of 10.9 million viewers between 8:45pm and 9pm, and a five-minute peak of 11.2 million during that period." This gave Channel 4 a 25.7% share of the peak-time audience between 6pm and 10:30pm, beating BBC1, with 16%, and ITV1 (11.1%) (GUARDIAN, 8/30). In London, Andrew Hough wrote that Channel 4 Wednesday night "defended its Paralympics Opening Ceremony coverage amid a furious backlash from viewers over its advertisements and commentary." Channel 4 "faced a deluge of criticism from angry viewers who complained about its poor prime-time telecast." Viewers took to the Internet to air their outrage, particularly over the "intrusive" and "disgusting" decision to cut to advert breaks throughout the three-hour spectacle. Channel 4 sources suggested there were "significantly fewer" advertisements in the Opening Ceremony than "there usually would be during peak time programming" (TELEGRAPH, 8/30).
BBC SHUT OUT: The GUARDIAN's Mark Sweney reported BBC Olympics presenter Gary Lineker "expressed his regret that the corporation is not broadcasting the Paralympics." Lineker, part of the BBC's highly-praised coverage of the London Olympics, said Wednesday that he "had been inundated with queries about why the BBC was not also the TV home of the Paralympics." Lineker tweeted, "Lots asking why BBC TV's not covering Paralympics? Strong bid was put in but organisers chose Channel 4. Shame for Beeb but with C4 well." Channel 4 "effectively left the BBC in the starting blocks with a knock-out bid for TV rights to the 2012 Paralympics" of £8-9M ($12.6-14.2M), following a tender process run by LOCOG (GUARDIAN, 8/30).