BBC chief claims more people watched 'Bodyguard' than Netflix's 'The Crown'

The BBC say Netflix golden jewel The Crown has been watched by around seven million viewers, despite the online streaming giants declining to make its viewing figures public.

BBC director-general Tony Hall claims the royal period drama attracted fewer viewers in the UK than Bodyguard, the smash-hit BBC drama starring Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes, which had a vastly smaller budget.

In a speech at a media and telecoms conference, Lord Hall said: “The BBC’s Bodyguard finale reached 17 million viewers in a month, while our data suggests The Crown, an absolutely brilliant series, reached seven million users in the UK in 17 months”.

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Richard Madden with co-star Keeley Hawes (Des Willie/BBC)
Richard Madden with co-star Keeley Hawes (Des Willie/BBC)

Netflix – also known for original shows such as Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, and Making a Murderer – never reveals how many people watch its shows, preferring to keep its data close to its chest. A Netflix source said the streaming company did not recognise the figure and added it was not official.

“It is a UK-made show, which has taken a very British subject to 190 countries,” the source added.

Fresh from winning an Oscar for playing one queen in The Favourite, Olivia Colman will don a crown again, as she takes over the role of Queen Elizabeth II from Claire Foy in the next series of The Crown.

Tobias Menzies will take over from former Doctor Who star Matt Smith as the Duke Of Edinburgh, while Helena Bonham Carter will replace Vanessa Kirby as the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret.

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Bodyguard star Richard Madden, who also starred as Robb Stark in HGO’s Game Of Thrones, revealed back in November he was in talks to make a second series of the wildly popular thriller series.

Netflix has 10 million subscribers in the UK.