The first episode of the new series of Game Of Thrones has already been watched by 3.4 million Sky Atlantic viewers, the broadcaster has said.
Some 192,000 enthusiasts stayed up until 2am on Monday morning to watch the first transmission of the first episode of series eight live, at the same time it was being broadcast for the first time in the US on HBO.
That transmission has now been viewed by a total of 2.7 million UK fans who recorded the early broadcast or watched on demand, as well as those who tuned in live.
The episode aired for a second time at 9pm and that transmission has been watched by 698,000 people, including those who watched live in primetime.
The numbers were up 20% on the first episode of season seven – the last season which aired in 2017 – which itself broke records for Sky.
The figure is expected to increase significantly as more Game Of Thrones fans catch up on the series premiere on demand, through Sky + recordings and through repeats.
Talking to Deadline, a Sky spokesperson said this overnight figure for the David Nutter-directed and David Hill-penned episode “is just a fraction of the total audience who will watch this episode – we anticipate it will increase considerably by over the next two weeks as our customers take advantage of watching the show flexibly on demand, through repeats, Sky Go and through their Sky + recordings, before we get to our final cumulative audience.”
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After the broadcast, fans in the UK said they were relieved they could “finally come out of hiding” after making it to the series eight debut without hearing any spoilers.
Many people tuning in to the second showing said they had stayed off social media all day in case any of the programme’s secrets were spilled before they could watch for themselves.
Game Of Thrones continues on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV on Mondays.
With reporting by PA