Harry & Meghan UK's most-watched subscription TV series of year so far

Harry and Meghan’s Netflix docuseries becomes UK’s most-watched subscription TV series of the year with first episode seen by average of 4.5m people in seven days after its release

  • Harry & Meghan watched by average of 4.5m people in first week of its release
  • This is 1.5m more than figure for episode one of new series of The Crown (2.8m)
  • World Cup England v France quarter-final clash attracted audience of 23m

Harry and Meghan’s bombshell six-part Netflix docuseries has become the UK’s most-watched subscription TV series of the year so far, according to viewing figures.

The first episode, which told the story of how the Duke and Duchess of Sussex met and began dating, was watched by an average of 4.5 million people in the seven days after it hit screens on December 8.

It dwarfed the 2.8 million people who tuned in to watch the first episode of The Crown’s new series, released on November 9, by more than a million and a half views.

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

Harry and Meghan’s bombshell six-part Netflix docuseries has become the UK’s most-watched subscription TV series of the year so far, according to viewing figures

Now starring Imelda Staunton, Jonathan Pryce, Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West, the latest episodes touched on the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage, including the princess’s infamous BBC Panorama interview with Martin Bashir.

It has attracted criticism from high-profile figures including Dame Judi Dench and former prime minister Sir John Major, who said it had begun to verge on ‘crude sensationalism’ and ‘malicious nonsense’.

Netflix added a disclaimer to the description of the trailer for series five, but reiterated that The Crown is a ‘fictionalised drama’.

The first episode of The Crown, starring Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II (pictured) attracted 2.8 million viewers in its first week of release in November

Ricky Gervais starring as Tony in Netflix drama After Life

It has also raced in front of other big releases by Netflix including the highest-rated episodes of the latest series of Ricky Gervais’ After Life (4.1 million), supernatural thriller Stranger Things (3.9 million) and the period romance Bridgerton (3.4 million).

Stars of the cult TV show Stranger Things, including Joseph Quinn and Sadie Sink, have seen their public profiles boosted massively following the release of the climactic final 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 in the UK charts – after it featured throughout the series.

Strange Things series 4: Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven and Noah Schnapp as Will Byers

The watching figures, published by audience research organisation Barb, provide the first snapshot of how 2022’s leading subscription-only series have fared in the UK.

Meanwhile, episode one of the Star Wars spinoff Obi-Wan Kenobi was the most-watched show on Disney Plus, attracting an audience of 3.1 million people in the seven days after its release in May.

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

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

But streaming giant Netflix dominated the list with seven of the titles in the top ten.

However, traditional TV was still drawing in audiences with the first episode of Harry & Meghan less than half the typical rating for BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here.

Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal during the live show of Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1

It also paled in comparison to the figures for recent World Cup matches, with 23 million people tuning in to watch England’s 2-1 defeat against France in the World Cup quarter-finals.

Viewing figures for Harry & Meghan were also slightly below the audience for the episode of MasterChef: The Professionals that was broadcast on BBC One, in the same week the first part of their docuseries was released.

Meghan & Harry, directed by Liz Garbus, is the first project to emerge from the multi-year deal the couple signed with the streaming giant back in 2020, shortly after they announced they were stepping down as working members of the royal family. 

Netflix reportedly paid £88 million ($100million) for Harry and Meghan’s bombshell docuseries as part of a multi-year deal with the streaming giant

In September 2020, the couple announced a partnership with Netflix to work on a number of projects including documentaries, docuseries, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming in collaboration with their company Archewell Productions.

In an official statement released at the time, they said: ‘Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope. As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.’

They added Netflix’s ‘unprecedented reach will help [them] share impactful content that unlocks action’.

In July last year, the duchess announced her first project with Netflix, an animated series called Pearl, in which she would take on the roles of creator and executive producer.

However in May this year, Pearl was dropped by the streaming platform as part of a wave of cutbacks prompted by their drop in subscribers. 

Netflix recently announced that the couple would present a documentary series that will celebrate ‘inspirational leaders’ throughout history, inspired by Nelson Mandela.

‘Live to Lead’ is a seven-part series featuring interviews with global figures ‘who have made brave choices’ including Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, and late US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Other people who will be featured include Bryan Stevenson, a 63-year-old US social justice activist and law professor, Albie Sachs, 87, a former South African judge, rugby player Siya Kolisi, 31, and the journalist Gloria Steinem, 88. 

The couple are billed as executive producers and are likely to make an appearance in the series.

Source: Read Full Article