More viewers watched Happy Valley than tuned in to Harry interview

More viewers watched BBC’s Happy Valley than tuned into the much-anticipated interview with the Duke of Sussex on ITV, according to overnight figures.

Harry: The Interview drew an average TV audience of 4.1 million, based on overnight figures released by ITV.

The broadcaster said the 90-minute programme, in which Harry was interviewed by Tom Bradby as part of the promotion for the duke’s memoir, Spare, ahead of its release on Tuesday, achieved the channel’s highest rating for a factual programme for more than a year.

In comparison, the second episode of series three of BBC One’s Happy Valley, which started at the same time – 9pm on Sunday – and lasted 60 minutes, had an average audience of 5.3 million TV viewers, according to the overnight figures.

The crime drama, which was written and created by Sally Wainwright and stars Sarah Lancashire as Sergeant Catherine Cawood, returned on New Year’s Day for its final series after last being broadcast in 2016.

During the course of ITV’s special programme, presenter Bradby asked Harry about alleged accusations of racism during his interview with US chat show host Oprah Winfrey, when his wife, Meghan, revealed that an unnamed family member had raised concerns about how dark their unborn son’s skin would be.

“No, I didn’t… the British press said that… did Meghan ever mention that they’re racist? … There was concern about his skin colour,” the duke said.

Happy Valley
Sarah Lancashire plays Sergeant Catherine Cawood in BBC crime drama Happy Valley (Matt Squire/PA)

Bradby asked: “Wouldn’t you describe that as essentially racist?”, to which Harry replied: “I wouldn’t, not having lived within that family.”

He added: “Going back to the difference between what my understanding is because of my own experience, the difference between racism and unconscious bias, the two things are different.”

Other key moments from the interview included Harry saying it was “fair” to say the Prince and Princess of Wales did not like Meghan from the beginning, and accusing the royal family of a “really horrible reaction” on the day of the Queen’s death.

ITV also said an average of 4.2 million viewers across both TV and streaming platform ITVX watched the programme, with an audience peak of 4.6 million.

Last year, Oprah With Meghan And Harry had an average audience of 11.1 million and a peak audience of 12.4 million viewers when the CBS primetime special aired on ITV.

The 110-minute programme saw both the duke and duchess interviewed, and aired first in the US, where it reached an estimated 17.1 million viewers.