Graham Norton smashed his previous best - set in June - by 300k with 4.51m (a 26.9% share) tuning in from 10.30pm, and two million viewers joining the programme between the start and 11.45pm end. The viewing figures, however, fell just short of the 4.52m achieved for 2010's New Year's Eve edition.
BBC One's special edition of the chatshow had a star-studded lineup of Hollywood stars Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Billy Crystal and Hugh Jackman, as well as comedian John Bishop and Great British Bake Off judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.
Afterwards New Year's Live, which brought in 2013 with fireworks and Big Ben's chimes, managed 10.3m (56%). Celebrity Mastermind interested 5.28m (25.6%) at 6.30pm, and a new Top of the Pops had 3.17m (15.3%).
Over on ITV1, Jason Manford's 2012 retrospective mustered 2.41m (13.3%) from 9pm, while Alan Carr's New Year's Specstacular entertained 1.78m (10%) as well as 168,000 on +1.
However, ITV still topped primetime thanks to Emmerdale and Corrie, averaging 19.5% ahead of BBC One's 18.5%. Channel 4 won third place with 7% (+1: 0.6%).
Elsewhere, BBC Two's screening of Catch Me If You Can logged 1.38m (6.8%), and World's Strongest Man appealed to 1.01m (5%) on Channel 5 (+1: 128k).
The popularity of a Lewis repeat meant that ITV3 overtook 5 in the primetime league tables, with the drama pulling in 1.13m (6.4%) between 9pm and 11pm.
Overall, BBC Two finished in fourth position with 6.2%, ahead of ITV3's 4.8%, and Channel 5's 4.4% (+1: 0.3%).
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional