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Elton John breaks BBC viewing record for Glastonbury 2023 performance

He drew three times the audience figures than Paul McCartney did at last year's Glastonbury

By Charlotte Krol

Elton John live at Glastonbury Festival
Elton John live at Glastonbury Festival 2023. (Picture: BBC)

Elton John’s headline show at Glastonbury Festival has broken BBC viewing records.

The performance, touted as John’s last-ever UK live show, attracted a 5-minute peak overnight audience of 7.6 million to BBC One, cementing it as the most viewed set on television in the festival’s history. An average of 7.3 million people watched John’s show overall.

John’s Sunday night (25 June) closing set, which was also broadcast on BBC Radio 2, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds, drew three times as many viewers than Paul McCartney‘s headline show last year.

Lorna Clarke, Director of Music, said in a statement: “What an incredible way to end this year’s Glastonbury festival! Elton John’s set will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most epic performances ever to light up the Pyramid Stage and was watched by a record 7.6 million people on BBC One.

“I’m so delighted the BBC and our superb teams were able to share every bit of the magic from Worthy Farm during the weekend with audiences at home. People can catch Elton John’s unmissable set and all our other content now on BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer, which also has over 90 other sets from across the Glastonbury stages.”

Friday’s (23 June) headline act Artic Monkeys saw a record performance for a Friday night headline set, with a 5-min peak audience of 2.6 million and an average of 1.5 million. Audiences for Saturday’s (24 June) headliners Guns N’ Roses on BBC Two peaked at 2.1 million, with an average audience of 1 million. 

Elsewhere, a couple were caught on camera getting engaged during John’s headline set, while Rolling Stone UK gave five stars for John’s Glastonbury bow-out.

Catch up with all the latest news and reviews from Glastonbury Festival 2023 here.