Most watched UK TV broadcasts ever: from Boris’s lockdown address to Princess Diana’s wedding
Televised speech to nation racked up more than 27 million viewers, making it the eighth most watched broadcast in UK history
Monday’s televised announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson - in which he announced strict new measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak - has become one of the most watched TV broadcasts in UK history.
The statement, the first prime ministerial address of its kind in the UK since Tony Blair announced Britain’s involvement in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, attracted a total audience of 27.1 million viewers across a number of channels, according to the BBC.
“That makes it the most watched broadcast for years,” says the broadcaster.
The figures make it the eighth most watched UK broadcast in history, behind such events as the 1970 FA Cup final replay between Chelsea and Leeds United, and the Apollo 13 splashdown the same year.
The 1966 World Cup final between England and West Germany is the record holder for the nation’s most watched broadcast, with a combined audience of 32.3 million across the BBC and ITV – though The Guardian notes that “measurement methods were much less sophisticated” in that era.
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In second place is the 1997 funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, which drew a peak television audience of 32.10 million.
However, the paper also notes that it is “possible that the final official viewing figures, compiled over the course of the next four weeks, could push it close” to the 1966 final, as catch-up and online viewings of the speech are thought not to have been counted yet.
Here is the current list of the most-watched broadcasts in UK history: