This TV moment draws more viewers than William and Kate’s wedding!

William and Kate wedding 2011
(Image credit: UK Press via Getty Images)

Happier times...

An incredible 27.4 million people watched Boris Johnson’s prime ministerial lockdown update on Sunday evening - more than the numbers who watched William and Kate’s wedding!

Back in 2011, an amazing 26.3 million people tuned in to see the rather happier event of Prince William marrying Kate Middleton.

It’s rare in modern times for audience figures to get past 20 million, however nearly 30 million people - according to Broadcast - tuned in nationwide across the different channels to see Boris Johnson reveal his lockdown exit strategy. The 15-minute broadcast, screened from 7pm yesterday night, was shown on BBC1, ITV, C4, C5, BBC News and Sky News.

Boris’s speech is now among the most watched TV moments of all time. Other notably high figures include the 28.4 million people who tuned into the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, and the 30.15 million fans who watched Den Watts serve Angie divorce papers on Christmas Day 1986 in EastEnders. The famous EastEnders episode is credited with being the most watched show of all-time.

With the rise of catch-up TV and streaming services like Netflix, viewing figures have generally been on the decline in recent years.

Gavin and Stacey season one

The Gavin and Stacey Chistmas special drew in an enormous audience (Image credit: BBC/GS TV Productions Ltd/Tom Jackson)

Anything that pulls in over 10 million viewers is now considered huge. The recent Gavin and Stacey Christmas Day special recently pulled in an amazing 17.7 million viewers. While an episode of the Bodyguard, which starred Keeley Hawes and Richard Madden, attracted over 14 million fans in 2018. The Bodyguard was of course one of the most talked about shows ever.

However, it tends to be events that pull in the highest figures. Slightly more people actually saw Boris announce lockdown on Monday 23rd March, with 28 million people tuning in for that.

The Queen's recent VE Day message also attracted a very big audience, with 11.6 million watching the speech.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!