After almost two days staring at the screen without sleep, Tom Gibson finally broke the world record for continuously watching television.

Tom, an IT support technician from Wilberforce Road, Hendon, broke the previous world record, of 47 consecutive hours, by just five minutes and 20 seconds last Thursday before he decided he had really had enough.

"I could have stayed on for quite a while longer," he said. "I could probably have made it to 50 hours. But when they suggested I finish because I had broken the record, I was more than happy to stop. There seemed no point in continuing."

Tom does not mind having left himself open to future challengers. He said: "It was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but it is the sort of record that other people will be able to beat, and I am happy with that. I'll hold the record for a while."

Existing on a televisual diet of shows and films ranging from EastEnders, ER and Hell's Kitchen to Analyze That and City of God, Tom broke the record in full view of the public, sitting on a platform in front of an advertising billboard in Kensington on Thursday.

Open to the elements, he got cold at night and sunburned during the day. It was a struggle not to ingest fumes from passing traffic and he ate and drank as little as possible because he was only allowed to go to the toilet every eight hours in a 15-minute break.

Unlike other couch potatoes, he ended up losing two-thirds of a stone in weight after existing on a diet of sausage rolls, ham and cheese sandwiches and bottles of sugary drinks.

The world record attempt was run by the company HomeChoice to mark the launch of its digital TV, video-on-demand and internet services.

After breaking the world record set two years ago by four men - Nick Tungett, Adam King, Stephen Hayes and Sam Beatson - Tom went home and slept for the next 16 hours solid.

He said: "I woke up not knowing where I was or what day it was.

"But I had a great sense of achievement."

Tom was chosen for the attempt after a search by HomeChoice for Britain's biggest TV fan.

Because he successfully set the new world record, he won £5,000-worth of Sony home entertainment equipment.

And his TV-watching exploit has not put him off, however. "I am really looking forward to all that great equipment," he said.

"I very quickly got back on track with watching the TV. Maybe I would even consider doing it again. But not in the next 12 months."