Philip’s funeral could attract one of the year’s largest TV audiences

Ian Jones, PA

The funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh is likely to attract one of the largest television audiences of the year – though perhaps not the biggest.

That honour currently belongs to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose televised address on January 4 announcing a new national lockdown was watched by 25.1 million people across five channels.

Some 14.1 million watched on BBC One alone – the biggest TV audience for a single channel so far this year.

DEATH Philip TVAudience
(PA Graphics)

In second place is the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s interview with US broadcaster Oprah Winfrey, broadcast by ITV on March 8 and watched by 13.9 million.

BBC One’s police drama series Line Of Duty is in third place with an audience of 13.1 million for the launch of the latest series on March 21.

Broadcasters have yet to confirm their plans for Philip’s funeral on Saturday, but the BBC and ITV are likely to devote several hours to the event, including the ceremony at 3pm.

DEATH Philip
(PA Graphics)

The last royal funeral to be extensively televised in the UK was that of the Queen Mother on April 9 2002.

An average of 5.1 million people watched BBC One’s coverage, while 2.7 million tuned to ITV.

The event took place on a Tuesday morning whereas the duke’s funeral is on a Saturday so it could attract a bigger audience.

The funeral service of Diana, Princess of Wales on September 6 1997 was watched by 19.3 million people on BBC One and 11.7 million on ITV. It remains one of the most-watched live events in television history.

Ratings data is published by the audience research organisation Barb.

All figures quoted here are consolidated ratings, meaning they include people who recorded and watched a broadcast up to seven days later – the industry standard for measuring TV audiences.