BBC Pop Music TV announces record +30 day audience figures for Glastonbury 2023 and autumn programme highlights

  • Glastonbury 2023 on the BBC has broken records, with the latest figures revealing that coverage of the festival has been streamed 65 million times on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds, with 23 million tuning in on the BBC’s TV channels
  • This autumn, BBC Two presents brand new documentary, When Blondie Came To Britain – exploring Blondie’s relationship with the UK
  • Female artists take centre stage on BBC Two this season: the return of Later…with Jools Holland is accompanied by Later… specials celebrating Amy Winehouse and Women of Hip Hop and Soul; the channel dedicates an evening to solo female performers including Alicia Keys, Rihanna and Britney Spears, and new …at the BBC compilations spotlight artists such as Lulu and Mary J. Blige
  • BBC Four brings viewers live coverage of Mercury Prize 2023 with FREENOW: Album of the Year

This year’s Glastonbury Festival reached a record-breaking 23.1 million people on BBC TV (including the 30 day catch up period), up 8% on last year’s figure of 21.4 million, with 8.6 million people tuning in to Elton John’s Sunday night performance on BBC One over the same period. Other high-performing sets included Arctic Monkeys, Guns N’ Roses and Yusuf / Cat Stevens, as well as Blondie, Rick Astley, Fred Again.., Foo Fighters, Becky Hill and Lewis Capaldi. Glastonbury 2023 content on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds has now been streamed 65 million times, more than any previous year and up 54% on last year’s figure.

Following a recent multi-year extension, the BBC is Glastonbury Festival’s exclusive, multimedia broadcast partner. This year there was more live coverage than ever before with a record number of hours on BBC One and more programming in the lead up, including an updated version of Glastonbury: 50 Years and Counting, plus further content to discover on BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer, with scale and discovery is at the heart of the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage. The BBC delivered over 40 hours of coverage across it’s TV channels, 85 hours of live radio broadcasts, content on BBC Sounds, and an increase in scale and accessibility on BBC iPlayer, with even more themed and live streams. And for the first time, the BBC streamed the Pyramid Stage performances live in British Sign Language, making our coverage more accessible than ever before.

Lorna Clarke, BBC Director of Music says: “This was an incredible year at Worthy Farm and I’m proud that we successfully matched the ambition and spirit of this iconic festival with our extensive coverage of it. It’s wonderful that record audiences discovered and enjoyed our Glastonbury output on TV, Radio and online, as I know the teams across the BBC and BBC Studios worked around the clock to bring more performances and content than ever before to people at home. A special thanks to Emily and Michael Eavis for allowing us to share the joy of Glastonbury with so many people across the UK.”

As autumn approaches, BBC Pop Music TV will continue to keep music lovers of all tastes entertained with a wealth of programmes celebrating music from many different eras and genres.

Jonathan Rothery, BBC Head of Pop Music TV, says: “This autumn, I’m delighted to bring the music and stories of some of the world’s most influential and best-loved artists to our viewers. From Wise Owl’s exploration of Blondie’s relationship with the UK, to nights of programming dedicated to solo female performers and Motown, plus the return of Later…with Jools Holland, this autumn’s eclectic slate is sure to resonate with music fans of all generations.”

When Blondie Came to Britain on BBC Two delves into Blondie’s symbiotic and enduring relationship with Britain. This captivating documentary reveals how one of the most iconic bands in global music history left an indelible mark on British pop culture, whilst also highlighting how the UK was instrumental in catapulting Blondie to stardom. Produced by Wise Owl Films, the documentary traces the band’s early footsteps across the country – from their first UK gig at the Students’ Union in Bournemouth in 1977, to their ground-breaking television debut on Granada TV, courtesy of the legendary broadcaster and label owner, Tony Wilson. The narrative culminates with Blondie’s electrifying performance on Glastonbury’s esteemed Pyramid Stage in 2023.

Featuring in the programme are new interviews with band members past and present including Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Clem Burke, Gary Lachman AKA Valentine, Jimmy Destri, Frank Infante and Nigel Harrison. There are also contributions from musicians and producers including Jools Holland, Johnny Marr, Mike Chapman, Pauline Black and Don Letts.

Debbie Harry says: “When I think back about all the times we’ve been to the UK, it’s been a tremendous influence on learning my craft – it’s been a big influence on us. I feel such a kinship to the British and the UK that when I don’t go there on a regular basis, I miss going. I like the culture. It had a deep effect on me.”

Speaking about touring Britain in the early days of Blondie, Chris Stein says: “I remember the physicality. Everybody went crazy and was pogoing and going nuts. We were all taken aback, it was very exciting. I always remember that fondly. In New York there was really no rock dance going on.”

Clem Burke says: “That was the ultimate for us, to be on tour in the UK. It couldn’t have gotten any better in my mind. The music scene was taking off. It was a major catalyst for the success of Blondie […] by the time we got to Top of the Pops I was like ‘yeah, this is success’.”

This new documentary follows four other …Came To Britain films made by Wise Owl for BBC Two: When Bob Marley Came to Britain (August 2020), When Nirvana Came to Britain (September 2021), When Tina Turner Came to Britain (December 2022) and When Motown Came to Britain (January 2023). The latter two are available on BBC iPlayer.

On Thursday 7th September from 9pm on BBC Four, Lauren Laverne will host live coverage of this year’s Mercury Prize Awards Show from the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London in Mercury Prize 2023 with FREENOW: Album of the Year. The shortlist for 2023, which was announced live on BBC Radio 6 Music in July, comprises twelve albums which reflect the diverse nature of British and Irish music over the past year and cover a wide range of contemporary genres. All of the shortlisted albums will be celebrated through live performance, culminating in the announcement of 2023’s overall winner. The winner is selected by an esteemed panel of judges, comprised of previous winners and industry tastemakers. The panel includes musicians and broadcasters including Anna Calvi, Hannah Peel, Jamie Cullum, Jamz Supernova and Mistajam. The chair of the panel is Jeff Smith, Head of Music for BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music.

BBC Radio 6 Music will also be bringing listeners live coverage of the Mercury Prize Awards Show on Thursday 7th September, 7pm-12am. Matt Everitt will be live from the Eventim Apollo, interviewing this year’s nominees, with Tom Ravenscroft and Deb Grant live in the studio, playing out performances from the ceremony.

Later in autumn, BBC Two presents a brand new series of Later…with Jools Holland, which returns to the historic Alexandra Palace. The previous series of Later, in spring 2023, featured performances from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Jessie Ware, Gaz Coombes, Alison Goldfrapp and Gabriels. This series will bring more unique performances from the eclectic mix of artists the show is famed for.

Two special compilation episodes of Later…with Jools Holland will also air this autumn on BBC Two: one dedicated to Amy Winehouse, which will be broadcast on Saturday 9th September (9pm), just before what would have been Amy’s 40th birthday, and will feature her debut performance on the show of Stronger Than Me (2003); and one showcasing the Women of Hip Hop and Soul, including classic performances on the show from Angie Stone, Erykah Badu, India Arie, Jorja Smith, Kelis, Little Simz, Mary J. Blige, Ms. Dynamite and Stefflon Don.

Other upcoming highlights include:

  • A night celebrating solo female performers, including Alicia Keys at the BBC which features performances of hits including Girl on Fire and Empire State of Mind, and another chance to see Britney at the BBC and Rihanna at Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend in 2012 (BBC Two)
  • A Motown themed evening, including Smokey Robinson Live in Hyde Park in 2014, Stevie Wonder captured in 1995 performing many of his greatest hits in A Night of Wonder, and Marvin Gaye: Live at Montreux in 1980 (BBC Two)
  • More …At the BBC specials on BBC Two celebrating Stock Aitken Waterman, Lulu and Mary J. Blige
  • Disco: Sound of a Revolution – a landmark new three-part series celebrating the sound of Disco. It features contributors including Ana Matronic, Nicky Siano, Honey Dijon, Jake Shears, Jessie Ware, DJ Hollywood, MNEK, Nona Hendryx, Kim Petras and Thelma Houston (BBC Two)

Recent BBC Pop Music TV highlights include: headline sets from this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival from The Killers and Billie Eilish; Northern Soul at the Proms, recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in July and created by BBC Radio 6 Music’s Stuart Maconie; Shania Twain at the BBC; a night dedicated to blur, featuring their recent Radio 2 in Concert performance at the BBC Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House, London and blur at the BBC, which includes archive performances of fan favourites such as Country House, Parklife and Girls and Boys; a night celebrating girl bands, featuring Bananarama at the BBC, a Girls Aloud concert recording, captured on their Tangled Up tour live from the O2 in 2008, as well as specials from the BBC archives including Labelle in Concert, Spice Girls at the BBC, I’m in a Girl Group! and Top of the Pops 2: Girl Groups; highlights from this year’s Wireless Festival which took place in London’s Finsbury Park and featured some of the biggest stars of rap, hip-hop and R&B; performances from Glastonbury 2023; The Trouble With KanYe, which sees award-winning journalist Mobeen Azhar travel to the United States to try and discover how one of America’s most celebrated artists became a megaphone for hate and division; a night dedicated to the late Tony Bennett including Tony Bennett: BBC Sessions, an intimate BBC session in the setting of LSO St Luke’s; Reel Stories: Pet Shop Boys, in which Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe sit down with Dermot O’Leary to watch back the twists and turns of their career; George Michael: Live in London, which captures the former Wham! Frontman at his final two concerts at London’s Earls Court Arena in 2008 in front of 40,000 fans; and Prince and The Revolution: Live, a Grammy-nominated concert film of the Syracuse Carrier Dome show from Prince’s 1985 Purple Rain tour.

When Blondie Came To Britain is a 1 x 60 minute documentary for BBC Two, commissioned by Rachel Davies, Commissioning Editor, BBC Music TV, produced and directed for Wise Owl Films by Kate Siney with Mark Robinson as Executive Producer.


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