Harry & Meghan documentary series gives Netflix a ratings hit

More than two million people watched the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new Netflix series in the UK on Thursday.

The first episode of Harry & Meghan was seen by 2.4 million people on TV sets on its launch day, ratings show.

That is the biggest single-day audience for any Netflix show since the streamer joined ratings body Barb in October.

It is more than double the first-day figure for the latest series of The Crown, and the same number as watched BBC One’s EastEnders on Thursday.

The first three episodes in the duke and duchess’s highly-publicised six-part series became available on Netflix at 08:00 GMT.

As well as the 2.4 million viewers for the first instalment, episode two had 1.5 million viewers on the first day, and the third part attracted 800,000.

That compares with 1.1 million people who saw the first episode of the fifth series of royal drama The Crown – which features a fictionalised version of a younger Harry – on its launch day last month.

Barb’s figures only include people watching Netflix on TV sets.

On traditional TV channels on Thursday, BBC One’s The One Show also attracted 2.4 million, ITV soap Coronation Street was watched by 3.5 million, and the most-watched programmes of the day were the BBC News At Six and subsequent regional news, both with 4.1 million.

One of the photos of the couple released by Netflix
Netflix’s viewing model is more geared to longer-term viewing than traditional TV channels, and series like Harry & Meghan and The Crown will be watched over a longer period, rather than the audience tuning in on the same day.

Harry & Meghan includes interviews with the couple and their friends, as well as their video diary – covering a range of topics, including their difficult relationship with the press and the Royal Family’s response to racist articles about Meghan.

Harry said some members of the family felt a negative experience with the media was “a rite of passage”.

“Some of the members of the family were like, ‘My wife had to go through that, so why should your girlfriend be treated any differently? Why should you get special treatment? Why should she be protected?”‘

“I said, ‘The difference here is the race element’.”

Harry also said how proud he was that his children are mixed race, and that it makes him want to “make the world a better place for them”.

“But, equally, what’s most important for the two of us is to make sure that we don’t repeat the same mistakes that perhaps our parents made,” he added.

The couple also spoke about meeting other royals, with Meghan saying she found it surprising that the formality “carries over” even when not in public.

“When Will and Kate came over, and I met her for the first time, they came over for dinner, I remember I was in ripped jeans and I was barefoot. I was a hugger. I’ve always been a hugger, I didn’t realise that that is really jarring for a lot of Brits.

“I guess I started to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside carried through on the inside.”

Harry and Meghan stepped back as senior royals in 2020 and now live in California with their two young children, Archie and Lilibet.

They have blamed racist coverage in the tabloid press as one reason for their decision.

The final three episodes of their series will be available on Thursday, 15 December.