A record-breaking UK audience tuned into the season seven premiere of hit fantasy thriller Game of Thrones

The hugely anticipated return of Game of Thrones was watched by a total audience of 2.83 million viewers, according to official figures.

Just over two million people watched the 2am broadcast of the season seven opener, which was simulcast on HBO in the US. That was followed by 788,000 who tuned in for the repeat screening at 9pm.

The 2am figure includes the 118,000 who watched it live, plus those who downloaded or recorded it and watched it later.

Sky believes that 2.83 million viewers will increase by around 60 per cent to around 4.5 million by the end of the week as more people watch it on demand or via their Sky + recordings.

According to Broadcast magazine, the Game of Thrones S6 premiere was watched by 2.2 million in April 2016.