Exposés about the royal family always tend to excite the public’s imagination and Channel 4’s documentary about Prince Philip’s mum, The Queen’s Mother in Law, did just that last night, pulling in a shade under three and a half million viewers for Channel 4.
Running from 9-10:00pm, the documentary, which explored the life and mental breakdown of Princess Alice, scored an average viewership of 3.4m people and a 14.9% audience share.
Never dipping below 3m viewers, the programme began with an audience of 3.2m and rose to a peak of 3.6m in its last quarter-hour. Also, when it was repeated an hour later on C4+1, The Queen's Mother in Law was seen by a further 415,000 people (2.3%).
In fact the documentary proved to be Channel 4’s most popular offering yesterday by quite a long chalk and its nearest ratings rival, Embarrassing Bodies, which ran between 8-9:00pm, attracted only 1.3m viewers (6%) - less than half of The Queen’s Mother in Law’s audience.
C4’s Windsor-focused film also held its own against competition from all the channel’s big terrestrial rivals, save BBC1, while on air.
New US crime-fighting drama Person of Interest opened to an audience of 1.09m (4.7%) on Channel 5; BBC2’s The Midwives pulled in 2m viewers (8.6%); and ITV1’s coverage of Helsingborg v Celtic in the Champions League play-offs was seen by an average of 1.2m (5.5%) football fans between 9-10:00pm (though it’s worth mentioning that the match itself kicked off at 7:45pm).
Only Jimmy McGovern’s hard-hitting drama strand Accused outperformed The Queen’s Mother in Law during prime-time last night, with the Olivia Colman and Anne-Marie Duff-fronted Mo’s Story having attracted 4.5m viewers (19.5%) to BBC1.
Having also enjoyed inflated ratings for The Queen’s Hidden Cousins last November, which was seen by 2.8m Windsor-watchers at the time, following last night's success it seems safe to assume Channel 4 will waste little time before training its cameras on Buck House all over again…