Live Coronation Street draws 15 million viewers

Nearly 15 million people tuned in to watch the Coronation Street live episode marking the TV soap's 50th anniversary.

Thursday night's hour-long show, which went with barely a hitch, brought the programme its biggest audience for nearly seven years.

The slice of high drama – which left viewers on tenterhooks as the tram crash disaster continued – pulled in 14.9 million viewers at its peak, with an average of 14 million watching throughout.

The show attracted more than half of last night's TV audience. The Apprentice: The Final Five, which was broadcast at the same time, drew just 2.5 million viewers.

ITV's director of TV, Peter Fincham, said: "The gripping drama that has played out on Coronation Street this week has been a truly fitting 50th anniversary celebration for the world's greatest soap."

The 65-strong cast delivered a near-seamless performance as show chiefs crammed a birth, a death and a wedding into 60 highly charged scenes.