The Biggest TV Viewerships Ever Recorded for UK TV Shows and Events

While the top most watched US shows were mostly made up of Superbowl shows the UK list has a much more varied program and event list. From the Royal events to the Soap Operas, we love big TV events and these are the biggest ever watched in the UK…


Coronation Street (Hilda Ogden leaves)
Coronation Street (Hilda Ogden leaves)

10 – Coronation Street (Hilda Ogden leaves)(Estimated Viewership: 26.65 Million) – (Air Date: 25th December 1987)

Wiki Info: Hilda Ogden. Hilda Alice Ogden (also Crabtree) is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Coronation Street, one of the best-known of all the regular characters in the serial, whose name became synonymous with a certain type of working-class woman. She was played by Jean Alexander from 1964 to 1987.

Wedding of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips

9 – Wedding of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips (Estimated Viewership: 27.60 Million) – (Air Date: 14th November 1973)

Wiki Info: The wedding of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips took place on Wednesday, 14 November 1973 at Westminster Abbey in London. Anne, Princess Royal is the only daughter and second child of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, while Mark Phillips is a skilled horseman and equestrian.

EastEnders (Michelle Fowler reveals she is pregnant)

8 – EastEnders (Michelle Fowler reveals she is pregnant) (Estimated Viewership: 28.00 Million) – (Air Date: 1st January 1986)

Wiki Info: Stacey Fowler – played by Lacey Turner, decided to have a heart-to-heart with her sister-in-law Michelle Fowler after her affair with teenager, Preston Cooper, was finally exposed with devastating results. Since news broke of Michelle’s shocking romance, her brother, Martin Fowler, has given her the cold shoulder and even admitted that she’s “dead” to him.

Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer

7 – Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer (Estimated Viewership: 28.40 Million) – (Air Date: 29th July 1981)

Wiki Info: The wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer took place on Wednesday 29 July 1981 at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, United Kingdom. The ceremony was a traditional Church of England wedding service. Notable figures in attendance included many members of royal families from across the world, republican heads of state, and members of the bride’s and groom’s families.

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1970 FA Cup Final replay

6 – 1970 FA Cup Final replay (Estimated Viewership: 28.49 Million) – (Air Date: 29th April 1970)

Wiki Info: The 1970 FA Cup Final was contested by Chelsea and Leeds United. The match took place on 11 April 1970 at Wembley Stadium and ended 2–2, making it the first FA Cup final to require a replay since 1912.

Apollo 13 splashdown

5 – Apollo 13 splashdown (Estimated Viewership: 28.60 Million) – (Air Date: 17th April 1970)

Wiki Info: Re-entry and splashdown, The crew of Apollo 13 on board the USS Iwo Jima following splashdown As Apollo 13 neared Earth, the crew first jettisoned the Service Module so pictures could be taken for later analysis. It was then that the crew were surprised to see for the first time that the Sector 4 panel had been blown off.

EastEnders (Den serves Angie with divorce papers)

4 – EastEnders (Den serves Angie with divorce papers) (Estimated Viewership: 30.15 Million) – (Air Date: 25th December 1986)

Wiki Info: The moment when Dirty Den Watts serves his wife Angie with divorce papers on Christmas Day 1986 has been voted the best Christmas soap storyline.

Royal Family (documentary)

3 – Royal Family (documentary) (Estimated Viewership: 30.69 Million) – (Air Date: 21st June 1969)

Wiki Info: Royal Family is a documentary about the family of Queen Elizabeth II, and was aired on 21 June 1969. It was rebroadcast on ITV the following week. The film was commissioned by the Queen to celebrate the investiture of her eldest son, Charles, as Prince of Wales. The script was written by Antony Jay.

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Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales

2 – Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales (Estimated Viewership: 32.10 Million) – (Air Date: 6th September 1997)

Wiki Info: The public funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales started on 6 September 1997 at 9:08 am in London, when the tenor bell sounded to signal the departure of the cortege from Kensington Palace. The coffin was carried from the palace on a gun carriage, along Hyde Park to St. James’s Palace, where Diana’s body had remained for five days before being taken to Kensington Palace. The Union Flag on top of the palace was lowered to half mast. The official ceremony was held at Westminster Abbey in London and finished at the resting place in Althorp.

1966 FIFA World Cup Final

1 – 1966 FIFA World Cup Final (Estimated Viewership: 32.30 Million) – (Air Date: 30th July 1966)

Wiki Info: The 1966 FIFA World Cup Final was the final match in the 1966 FIFA World Cup, the eighth football World Cup and one of the most controversial finals ever. The match was played by England and West Germany on 30 July 1966 at Wembley Stadium in London and had an attendance of 96,924. The British television audience peaked at 32.30 million viewers, making the final the most watched television event ever in the UK

Author: Gus Barge

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