One million people tuned in to watch the spectacular Preston Passion show on the city’s bus station last week.
The BBC has confirmed viewing figures for the Good Friday broadcast peaked at 1.2m with an average of one million watching the hour-long production which went out on BBC One.
The programme, a modern day re-telling of the Easter story, showed three short films set in Preston followed by a live performance involving thousands of local people on the city’s bus station.
The broadcaster’s flagship religious programme, Songs of Praise, attracts an average audience of just over two million viewers every Sunday.
Staff at the city’s tourist information centre reported an increase in the number of people getting in touch to ask about the city over the weekend
One said: “A lot of people have been ringing in saying they saw Preston on the television and asking about events we have coming up, particularly during the Guild.”
Guild festival director Stella Hall said the event was “the first of many” major events coming to the city as part of the celebrations which come to Preston once every 20 years.
Aaqil Ahmed, head of religion at the BBC who attended the event, said the show had been the culmination of 18 months of work to create the centrepiece of the broadcaster’s religious programme this Easter.
He said: “These stories are important to the people of Preston, but also to everyone watching across the country on BBC One.
“It does not matter that this was from Preston, these stories are universal and stories which are relevant to anyone watching.”
Up to 1,500 people lined the streets around the bus station for hours before and after the production, which concluded with a performance from pop star Jamelia.