As many of you know, the first episode of Top Gear's ninth season debuted last Sunday. At the end of the show, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond debut for the first time ever video of the jet car crash that almost killed Hammond. You can check out that clip of the show after the jump, as well as view an incredibly detail rich analysis of the crash in computer animation here.
We all knew anticipation of the show's premier was high, but not many expected an average audience of 7.9 million viewers with a spike peaking at 8.6 million viewers near the finale of the show. Those figures easily beat Top Gear's previous record of 5.3 million viewers set last season, and it was enough to make the episode the most watched show in Britain last Sunday, beating the finale of Celebrity Big Brother. For comparison's sake, the reigning most-watched show in U.S. history is the final episode of M*A*S*H, which was watched by about 106 million Americans. Last year's Super Bowl in which the Steelers beat the Sea Hawks was watched by 90.7 million people. The most watched episode in the U.K. of all time is an episode of the EastEnders in which Den divorces Angie. While the premier episode of Top Gear doesn't break into the U.K.'s top ten most watched episodes, it was nevertheless a remarkable and interesting night of television.

[Source: Top Gear]

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