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Controversial Princess Diana Documentary Is Channel 4’s Highest-Rated Show of 2017

“Diana: In Her Own Words” was Channel 4’s best-performing show of 2017, and the U.K. broadcaster’s highest rating documentary since 2014.

The film had stoked controversy, with friends and supporters of the Princess suggesting it would cause upset to her sons, William and Harry, and other family. It was based upon video recordings of the princess, made by her voice coach Peter Settelen, as she prepared to tell the world her side of her story.

The show went out last night, Sunday, in a primetime slot on Channel 4. It had an average of 3.5 million viewers and 16.4% audience share, up 142% on average. The U.K. audience peaked at 4.1 million and a 19% share.

The results make “Diana: In Her Own Words” the biggest show on Channel 4 since an episode of “Gogglebox” last April, and the best performing documentary on the channel since “Benefits Street” in early 2014.

A one-hour version of the show entitled “Diana – Her Story,” will go out PBS in the U.S. on August 22. A separate show called “Diana: In Her Own Words,” from 1895 Films, will go out on National Geographic in the U.S. and internationally.

Amid the controversy, Channel 4 and the producers of Diana: In Her Own Words,” Kaboom Film & TV, had defended it.

Kaboom’s Charles Furneaux secured the tapes the show was based on and recently told Variety: “It’s no different than any historical film. You get the best source material available. You often see the use of video that was not intended for public use.”

A raft of Princess Diana programming has been scheduled, or already, released, as the twentieth anniversary of her death approaches later this month. The ITV (and HBO) documentary on the Princess, “Diana, Our Mother” was the U.K. broadcaster’s most-watched factual program since 2009.

As the flow of programming about Princess Diana continues, the U.K.’s Channel 4 in particular cannot get enough of the ‘people’s princess.’ It will air a second documentary about her later this week, “Princess Diana’s ‘Wicked’ Stepmpother.”

The program will examine the volatile relationship between Diana and her stepmother, Raine Spencer, covering the clashes between the pair, and their ultimate reconciliation and friendship. U.K. independent producer Firecrest Films made the show, which will go out on August 10.

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