BBC trounces ITV ‘casuals’ in World Cup Final viewing figures

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BEACH-FRONT broadcasting and laid-back shorts and sunglasses have been blamed for leaving ITV in the shade when it came to the World Cup Final.

Viewing figures from Sunday night’s nail-biting climax between Germany and Argentina have revealed the majority of Britons opted for the BBC when settling down to watch the big match.

While both channels broadcast the game, which culminated in the Germans clinching a 1-0 victory in extra time at the Maracana, BBC One drew a peak of 16.7 million, while 3.8 million tuned to ITV at the same time.

Fronted by Adrian Chiles, ITV’s pundits took to the beach in Rio for the final match of Brazil 2014, with Martin O’Neill, Ian Wright, Glen Hoddle and Lee Dixon all forced to shield their eyes from the afternoon sun. Coverage from the other side came from a sober-looking studio for Alan Hansen’s final appearance on the BBC sofa.

The informal approach of ITV was described by one television critic as a “bunch of superannuated lads on tour”.

However, the BBC panel members came in for their fair share of criticism online. Rio Ferdinand’s choice of outfit, which included a double-breasted jacket and orange tie, drew particular attention. The former England international later admitted it made him look like an employee of budget airline easyjet.

The BBC’s success in luring final viewers echoes that of South Africa 2010, when, of the 18 million Britons who tuned in, 15 million chose BBC One.