A record 1.8 million viewers tuned in to BBC Three to watch the new series of hit comedy Little Britain on Tuesday, according to early figures.
Matt Lucas and David Walliams as Lou and Andy from Little Britain
The award-winning show returned for a second series on the digital channel, starring Matt Lucas and David Walliams.
The previous BBC Three record was after its launch in 2003, when 1.3 million watched an episode of EastEnders before it was shown on BBC One.
Little Britain will be shown on BBC One later in the year.
The show has won a clutch of awards including best comedy performers and entertainment at the Royal Television Society Awards.
It has also spawned a number of catchphrases, including teenager Vicky Pollard's "yeah, but, no but...", often heard repeated by fans.
Although it was commissioned by BBC Three, its terrestrial showing has been moved from BBC Two to One on the strength of its popularity.
BBC Three was celebrating the success of the new series, which was watched by one in four 25-34 year-olds, the channel's target audience.
It was also pleased with the performance of its new comedy My Life in Film, which was shown after Little Britain.
The comedy drama, starring Kris Marshall of My Family fame, was watched by 500,000 in the 10pm slot.
The early ratings do not take into account those who recorded the programme to watch at a later date.
The previous record for an originally commissioned BBC Three programme was 611,000 for EastEnders Revealed, a series offering an in-depth look at the characters in the soap.