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How the ‘Beckham’ Documentary Compares to ‘Harry and Meghan’

David Beckham’s Netflix documentary took the internet by storm, rising to the top of the global Netflix rankings 10 months after the release of Harry and Meghan.

The English football star’s life story unfolded across four episodes produced by actor and filmmaker Fisher Stevens, who plays Waystar PR advisor Hugo Baker in the HBO series. Succession.

It showed Beckham’s rise from a boy full of dreams to a hero of Manchester United and England, a superstar celebrity, a model and Victoria’s husband, while she was at the height of her popstar fame of the Spice Girls.

And some themes, including hostility from the media, paparazzi and public, closely mirrored the story of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, released on Netflix less than a year earlier, in December 2022, sparking a furore -tide of headlines.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are seen in a still from their Netflix documentary while David and Victoria Beckham attend the UK premiere of ‘Beckham’ at the Curzon Mayfair on October 3, 2023. The two series have been received differently by critics and the audience.
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex/StillMoving.Net for Netflix

Netflix ranking

Beckham-contrary to Harry and Meghan– went to number one in the world charts, giving the impression that he had beaten the Sussexes.

The royal family miniseries spent two weeks at the top of the UK charts, but was ousted from the top spot both globally and in the US by Wednesday. Based on hours watched, Jenna Ortega’s Addams Family revival comfortably beat both shows.

Beckham was watched for 59 million hours in its first week, Harry and Meghan for 82 million hours and Wednesdaythen in its third week, for 269 million hours.

So in reality, Harry and Meghan actually racked up more watch hours in its first week than Beckham.

The biggest difference, however, was the audience reaction, with critics raving about Beckham and declaim on Harry and Meghan.

What the critics say

On Rotten Tomatoes, the football biopic scored an average of 93% from critics and 97% from audiences.

This compares to a review average of 46 percent and an audience score of 19 percent for the royal series.

Among the critical praise for BeckhamHugo Rifkind to the British newspaper The temperature wrote: “Beckham is surprisingly excellent.”

And Lauren O’Neill’s article for The Guardian had the headline: “Rows, haircuts and spag bol: Beckham Netflix documentary left me longing for football’s less sanitized past.”

The Sussexes were reportedly prepared for a negative reaction from the British press to their documentary, but what was more surprising was the reaction in the United States.

Variety responded to Harry and Meghan with the headline: “It’s high time for Harry and Meghan 2.0.”

The article said: “At some point, even the stupidest minds among their fans will tire of their ‘Oh, woe is us’ routine as they play the victim card over and over again.

“It’s a tone-deaf message to send since the removal of their posh Montecito estate at a time of worldwide economic insecurity.

“Soon, Harry and Meghan will have to move towards something that isn’t just about recounting their former plight over and over again.

“It’s not like they’re going to have any new stories to tell about their years in the UK now that they’ve been largely cut off from the monarchy.

“Like a burlesque act, each story Harry and Meghan tell about their own lives is like a piece of clothing that they remove from their bodies at staggered intervals. It makes for a good show while it lasts, but eventually they will be left naked.”

Viral moments

Also on social networks, one of the biggest viral moments of Harry and Meghan was a backlash against a story Meghan told about how she got it wrong during her very first curtsy to Queen Elizabeth II.

Just one of the many clips of the moment has been liked more than 240,000 times after being posted on TikTok with the message: “Meghan’s disrespectful interpretation of a curtsy.”

Edward Coram James, PR expert and chief executive of Go Up, said at the time News week: “I think the biggest mistake in this whole story doesn’t come from the royal family, it comes from the Sussexes, who are the famous false bow.

“It’s one thing not to understand another culture, but if you nevertheless respect it, that’s excusable. It’s another thing not to understand the culture, to make fun of it and to take it into consideration .

“I’m very hesitant with all of this, but whether you’re a royal supporter or not, bowing to the Queen is a deeply rooted royal tradition in the UK, from workers to the countless celebrities who have done the same and made it so with great pride.

“And so she’s not just making fun of that, she’s making fun of an aspect of British culture that few people can get away with, especially people under extreme privilege like Meghan Markle.”

Meanwhile, an extract from Beckham was liked 867,000 times and viewed 9.3 million times after it was posted with the message: “He was so real about that.”

It showed Victoria saying her family was “working class”, but David poked his head through the door, seemingly unexpectedly, to tell his wife to “be honest”.

After some back and forth, Victoria revealed that her father drove her to school in a Rolls Royce at one point during her childhood.

One comment, liked 110,000 times, said: “It paradoxically made David Beckham more sympathetic for not pretending he was in trouble for the working class. »

Jack Royston is the chief royal correspondent for News week, based in London. You can find him on X, formerly Twitter, at @jack_royston and read his stories on News weekIt is The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email royals@newsweek.com. We would like to hear from you.


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