Big Brother‘s grand finale on Friday night attracted the lowest viewing figures in the show’s nine-year history.

Just 5.3 million people watched as trainee teacher Rachel Rice beat hot favourite Mikey Hughes to win the Channel 4 show and the £100,000 cash prize – down from 10 million viewers at its peak.

This is also 300,000 fewer than last year, when 5.6 million viewers watched as Essex boy Brian Belo was crowned the winner of Big Brother 8.

The format reached its peak in 2001, when 10 million viewers saw camp air steward Brian Dowling triumph in the second series of Big Brother.

This year’s final at 10pm pulled in just over a million more viewers than watched the first eviction show at 8pm.

The first show, in which Darnell Swallow, Rex Newmark and Sara Folino were evicted, was watched by 4.2 million people.

Big Brother 9 has been called the most unpopular series yet due to the drop in ratings – but Channel 4 claimed that it is still one of their ‘highest ratings programmes’.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: “This year’s Big Brother has regularly delivered an audience of around three million viewers – even after nine years on air, it is still right up there among our highest ratings programmes.

“We look forward to celebrating 10 years of Big Brother next year.”