Ava DuVernay’s series about five young black men wrongly convicted of the rape of a jogger in Central Park has been in the top two most-watched series on Netflix in the UK since it launched in May, the streaming service has said.
When They See Us, which stars The Wire actor Michael Kenneth Williams, Joshua Jackson, Vera Farmiga and Niecy Nash, tells the true story of five teenagers – Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise – and their battle for exoneration.
It has been the most watched show on the platform in the UK since it launched on May 31, with the exception of Black Mirror.
New episodes of Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones’ dystopian anthology series launched on June 5.
Director DuVernay, who is responsible for Selma and the documentary 13th, said she has been told by Netflix that the series has been watched by more than 23 million accounts around the world.
A statement from Netflix UK & Ireland on Twitter said: “When They See Us has been in the top two most-watched series on Netflix in the UK since it launched on 31 May – beaten only by Black Mirror.
“Though the case has long been notorious in the US, we honestly didn’t expect such a reaction in the UK.
“The shock, disbelief, & anger audiences feel when hearing this story is not limited by geography. Important stories – and important truths – travel, when they have a platform.”
DuVernay said she cried when she was told about the success of the show, writing: “Imagine believing the world doesn’t care about real stories of black people. It always made me sad.
“So when Netflix just shared with me that 23M+ accounts worldwide have watched #WhenTheySeeUs, I cried. Our stories matter and can move across the globe. A new truth for a new day.”
Netflix is notoriously secretive about viewing figures but does selectively reveal when films and series are particularly popular.
The service recently said more than 30 million accounts watched the Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler film Murder Mystery in its first three days of release, giving it the biggest opening weekend ever for a Netflix film.