Harry & Meghan becomes UK’s most-watched subscription TV series

Harry & Meghan, the Netflix documentary about the life of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, has become the UK’s most-watched subscription TV series of the year so far, according to figures.

The first episode was viewed by an average of 4.5 million people in the seven days after it aired on December 8.

This is more than a million and a half more than the equivalent figure of episode 1 of the new series of The Crown (2.8 million), released a few weeks earlier on November 9.

The first episode of Harry and Meghan was viewed by an average of 4.5 million people within seven days of its release on December 8 (Netflix/PA)

The explosive six-part series saw the pair discuss intimate details of how they met as well as face accusations of abuse by the Royal Family and the British press.

Harry alleged his brother the Prince of Wales left him terrified after he screamed and screamed at the Sandringham summit and that Kensington Palace ‘lied to protect my brother’ when he issued a statement denying a story that William had bullied him out of the royal family. .

He also accused his father of lying during the Megxit’s tense crisis meeting with the Queen in January 2020.

The series followed the release of the highly anticipated fifth installment of The Crown, a fictionalized version of royal events, a month earlier in November.

Now featuring Imelda Staunton, Jonathan Pryce, Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West, the latest episodes have tackled the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage, including the Princess’ infamous BBC Panorama interview with Martin Bashir.

It drew criticism from high-profile figures including Dame Judi Dench and former Prime Minister Sir John Major, who said it had begun to border on “gross sensationalism” and “malicious nonsense”.

Netflix added a disclaimer to the description of the fifth series trailer, but reiterated that The Crown is a “fictional drama”.

The Harry and Meghan documentary also beat out this year’s other big releases on Netflix, including the top-rated episodes of After Life’s latest series (4.1 million), Stranger Things (3.9 million) and Bridgerton (3.4 million).

The fifth series of The Crown stars Imelda Staunton, Jonathan Pryce, Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West (Netflix/PA)

The fifth series of The Crown stars Imelda Staunton, Jonathan Pryce, Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West (Netflix/PA)

The stars of supernatural drama Stranger Things, including Joseph Quinn and Sadie Sink, have had their public profiles massively boosted after the release of the final landmark episodes.

The series also brought Kate Bush’s 1985 hit song Running Up That Hill back into popular consciousness, and helped send the track back to number one on the UK charts – after it charted throughout the series.

The viewing figures, published by audience research organization Barb, provide the first insight into how the major subscription-only series of 2022 fared in the UK.

The most-watched show on Disney Plus was the first episode of Star Wars spin-off Obi-Wan, which drew 3.1 million viewers within seven days of its May release.

stranger things

The stars of supernatural drama Stranger Things, including Sadie Sink (right), have had their public profiles boosted significantly after the release of the final climactic episodes (Ntflix/PA)

It saw franchise stars Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christiansen reunite to reprise their Obi-Wan and Darth Vader personas for another epic battle.

Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power is the highest-rated show on Amazon Prime Video, with 3.2 million for its first episode in September.

But Netflix dominates the list, accounting for seven of the top 10 titles.

Although the first episode of Harry & Meghan draws an audience of 4.5 million people, that’s less than half the typical ratings of two of the most-watched shows on traditional (non-subscription) linear channels, Strictly Come Dancing from the BBC and I’m from ITV. Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here, and well below numbers from recent World Cup games.

It is also slightly below the ratings of the episode of MasterChef: The Professionals which aired on BBC One the week Harry & Meghan was released.

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