The State Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill on the BBC 

18 September 2022


Cover of Ariel

From Ariel for February 1965

THREE-quarters of the total population of Britain watched the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in St Paul’s Cathedral and the procession through London on Saturday, 30 January.

The audience for the television coverage rose from a total of nearly 21 million viewers between 9.30 and 10 a.m. at the start of the broadcast to a peak of 25 million during the Service at St Paul’s and afterwards. (These figures include the audiences for both BBC television and ITV. The great majority – 80 per cent – watched BBC). BBC television closed down from 1.40 to 2.10 p.m.

The audience for the recorded version on Saturday night was 12½ million.

On BBC radio, an average of about 3 million people listened to the broadcast of the funeral which was carried in full by the Home Service, Light Programme, and Third Network from 9.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. All three Services closed down from 1.30 to 2 p.m.

The General Overseas Service, in its biggest single operation, gave worldwide coverage by broadcasting the London procession and Service in full from 9.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. Foreign language broadcasts of the funeral also went out on a wider scale than any broadcast before.

Viewers in Europe received the television transmissions live over the Eurovision network, and recordings were seen in Eastern Europe.

The recorded version was transmitted via Telstar II to North America. Recordings were also flown across the Atlantic by jet.






Courtesy of British Pathé


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