The Queen’s funeral watched by 25 million viewers in UKon September 20, 2022 at 4:30 pm

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The audience peaked during the procession after her coffin had been carried out of Westminster Abbey.

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The Queen’s funeral on Monday was watched by more than 25 million viewers in the UK, making it one of the country’s biggest ever TV events.

More than 50 UK channels broadcast the service, as the nation paused to pay a final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II.

The audience across the three main channels – BBC One, BBC Two and ITV – peaked at 25.3 million at 12:25 BST.

That was during the procession after her coffin had been carried out of the Westminster Abbey funeral service.

The overnight figures do not include all viewers watching through streaming apps like BBC iPlayer and ITV Player, or those who saw it on big screens outdoors or in cinemas, churches or pubs.

General view of assembled ranks of members of the world's broadcasting media opposite Westminster Abbey

In comparison, Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997 had more than 32 million UK viewers.

A similar number are thought to have watched England’s World Cup victory in 1966, although that occurred before the modern TV ratings system began.

Almost 27.7 million watched Boris Johnson’s Prime Ministerial statement on 10 May 2020, when he set out a plan to ease the first Covid lockdown.

And the London 2012 Olympic opening and closing ceremonies each attracted almost 24.5 million viewers.

Members of the public gather to watch large screen live BBC TV coverage of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Truro Cathedral

Image source, Getty Images

Monday’s royal funeral was shown live across most BBC channels – with a signed version on BBC Two – and all ITV and Sky stations.

Children’s channels CBBC and CBeebies stuck with their usual programmes, while Channel 5 broadcast the Emoji Movie and Stuart Little – drawing both criticism and praise from parents online.

Channel 4 chose to broadcast the Queen’s coronation from 1953 and other royal documentaries.

Most commercial channels did not air adverts on the day, meaning the increased viewing did not result in a financial benefit.

The BBC’s coverage of the funeral and processions through London was anchored by Huw Edwards, with David Dimbleby taking over when the cortege reached Windsor for a later committal service.

Dimbleby was following in the footsteps of his father Richard, who played a similar on-air role at the funeral of George VI in 1952 and the Queen’s coronation the following year.

The Queen's funeral reflected on Tuesday's front pages

Image source, Getty Images

Kirsty Young was also on the BBC presenting teamon Monday, while Tom Bradby and Julie Etchingham led the coverage on ITV. Anna Botting and Dermot Murnaghan were on air for Sky, and Alastair Stewart led the GB News team.

“This was a reminder once again of what quality national broadcasters we have,” wrote The Times’ TV critic Carol Midgeley. “From Fergal Keane’s gentle, poetic voiceover to Alastair Bruce’s wealth of knowledge on Sky News, none of them messed up or misspoke despite the huge potential to do so during such a long, nerve-racking live event.”

Many observers commended the commentators for knowing when to let the pictures and sounds of the occasion tell the story.

“The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II was at its most poignant, and its most beautiful, when the broadcasters said nothing at all,” wrote The Telegraph’s Anita Singh.

Hundreds of millions more are likely to have watched around the world, with Piers Morgan providing commentary on Fox News in the US and Christiane Amanpour among the line-up on CNN.

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