The BBC has said Netflix big hitter The Crown was watched by around seven million viewers after the streaming service kept its viewing figures under wraps.
The streaming giant – also known for shows like Sex Education, Stranger Things and House Of Cards – does not reveal how many people watch its shows.
But BBC director-general Tony Hall said the period drama attracted fewer viewers in the UK than Bodyguard, the BBC drama starring Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes, with a vastly smaller budget.
In a speech at a media and telecoms conference, Lord Hall said the BBC’s Bodyguard finale reached 17 million viewers in a month while “our data suggests The Crown, an absolutely brilliant series, reached seven million users in the UK in 17 months”.
A Netflix source said the streaming company did not recognise the figure and added it was not official.
“It is a UK-made show, which has taken a very British subject to 190 countries,” the source added.
The streaming company does not reveal viewing figures, saying fans watch its shows at different times.
Oscar-winner Olivia Colman takes over the role of the monarch from Claire Foy in the next instalment of the drama.
Tobias Menzies will appear as the Duke Of Edinburgh, previously played by Matt Smith, while Helena Bonham Carter will be Princess Margaret.
Netflix has 10 million subscribers in the UK.