Viewers have given the BBC’s Diamond Jubilee coverage a tentative thumbs up – although approval ratings were below last year’s royal wedding.
BBC1’s live coverage of the Thames Pageant, which ran over nearly five hours on Sunday, scored 82 on the corporation’s appreciation index (AI), while Monday’s concert, headed by Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney, received an AI of 85.
The two events peaked with nearly two-thirds of the viewing population. Sunday’s flotilla coverage drew 11.98 million (61.27%) at its height, as Tower Bridge opened to let the royal barge through.
The following day’s concert saw ratings rise to 17.09 million (65.71%) as the Prince of Wales addressed the Queen.
Neither appreciation nor viewing figures could match those achieved as Prince William married Kate Middleton last spring.
BBC1’s royal wedding coverage – which last month won a Bafta – scored an AI of 88 and drew a peak audience of 19.29 million (68.93% share).
Critics have complained that the BBC’s Jubilee coverage was not suitably formal – the polar opposite of the charge of stuffiness levelled at its royal wedding coverage.
The BBC received nearly 2,500 complaints from viewers over the quality of the images of the flotilla and the presenting team.
But a BBC spokesman said the lower score for the Jubilee was not a result of getting the tone wrong, which he said had varied according to each of the weekend’s events.
“Weddings are more emotionally charged events, which a lot of people can relate to, whereas the pageant is something people have never seen before, and music typically doesn’t get a high AI,” he said.
“The Jubilee’s AI figure is important as some opinion formers would have you believe it was the worst TV ever – but it’s really something to be proud of.”
There will be an internal review of the coverage, as there is with all major programming events, the spokesman said.
In an email to staff on Wednesday, director general Mark Thompson praised the efforts of those involved.