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Thousands watched UHA webcam

Dave Gifford's classic photo of the culmination of Tuesday's procession in Lerwick as a thousand guizers prepare to cast their burning torches into the galley.

MORE than 14,000 people from 78 different countries tuned into the live broadcast of this year’s Lerwick Up Helly Aa.

For a sixth year running, Promote Shetland’s 60 North online TV channel streamed Tuesday’s fire festival procession as it happened.

While throngs of locals and tourists gathered around the King George V playpark to watch Guizer Jarl Mark Evans lead the burning of the galley, the rest of the world tuned in online.

The show was anchored by Davie Gardner in the old museum at Lower Hillhead in Lerwick, while Tom Morton read out social networking messages and ex-jarl Peter Malcolmson added his thoughts.

Three quarters of viewers were based in the UK, but 12 per cent hailed from North America and two per cent from Australia.

Keeping 14,000 people up to speed on the night's events were former Guizer Jarl Peter Malcolmson (left) and former BBC broadcaster Tom Morton, photographed on the night by chief commentator Davie Gardner.

International agency Associated Press Television News also secured rights to show the HD stream.

Promote Shetland’s head of brand strategy and innovation Andy Steven said the thousands of people who did watch online stayed for most of broadcast.

“This year we have exceptionally detailed viewing figures of the live stream and we’ve been thrilled by not only the number of viewers but also the amount of time each person stayed watching on the live stream,” he said.

“During the evening procession 14,392 unique viewers watched for average time of 48 minutes 33 seconds. This shows us that nearly everyone that tuned in watched the entire broadcast.”

Steven added that the youngest member of the film crew who worked on the night was aged just 13.

“It is great to have so much talent in Shetland and be able to give young people an opportunity to be involved in a production of this scale,” he said.