An average of 10.4m people watched Whitlock receive his medal for winning the pommel horse, while 9.4m watched the event itself, in which Whitlock edged team-mate Louis Smith into second place.
Those figures topped the audience for Justin Rose winning golf’s first Olympic gold for 112 years and cyclist Jason Kenny claiming his second of the Games as the British team enjoyed their best day yet at Rio.
Whitlock’s first gold of the evening, which saw him become the country’s first ever Olympic gymnastic champion, came in the floor event and attracted 6.5m viewers.
Wimbledon champion Andy Murray’s epic victory over Juan Martin del Potro in the men’s tennis final achieved a peak audience of 3.3m. That may have been hindered by it taking place later at night and being shown largely on BBC Four.
Figures for Usain Bolt’s 100m triumph will not be known until Tuesday but are unlikely to rival the 20m who tuned in to see him win at London 2012, which was shown at peak viewing time rather than early in the morning.
Diving duo Jack Laugher and Chris Mears’s surprise 3m synchro springboard gold was the most-discussed British success of the first week at Rio on Twitter.
Sir Bradley Wiggins and his team pursuit colleagues’ win on Friday night generated the second most buzz on the social media platform, with Murray’s gripping title defence third and Whitlock’s pommel horse gold fourth.