Anyone returning from the pub last night and casually glancing through their Twitter feed may well have been disturbed to discover that a large majority of the people that they follow on the social networking site had developed a sudden interest in dogging.

Yes. Dogging.

Yes. We know what dogging is. And so do the 1.9 million viewers that tuned in to watch the Dogging Tales documentary on Channel 4 between 10 and 11pm last night. That’s a 70 per cent rise on the channel’s usual ratings for that time slot, The Independent reports. With a peak audience of 2.1. million – double that of Hilary Devey’s The Intern, which aired before it – and a popular choice between the coveted 16-34 age group, the documentary was a runaway success for Channel 4 and the programme was also a hugely popular topic on Twitter, too.

According to The Independent, the documentary, which examined the behaviour of groups of people who have sex in public places, with other watching received over 117,000 tweets during transmission. The hashtag #doggingtales. Many of the people interviewed in the documentary wore animal masks to conceal their documentary, which led Twitter user @laurakateo to joke “‪#doggingtales with the animal masks and regional accents reminds me of the old Creature Comforts program.”

It may be a taboo subject and have resulted in a Twitter feed full of slightly uncomfortable humour but Channel 4 will be having the last laugh here, with ratings figures like that.