The Queen’s Gambit breaks record to become Netflix’s most watched scripted limited series

Staff reportersThe West Australian
Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance as Beth Harmon has been applauded by critics.
Camera IconAnya Taylor-Joy’s performance as Beth Harmon has been applauded by critics. Credit: Phil Bray/Netflix

The Queen’s Gambit has become Netflix’s most watched scripted limited series to date, attracting 62 million viewers in less than a month.

The streaming service today announced that the series has made the Top 10 shows in 92 counties and was ranked the most popular show in 63 countries since being released last month.

Based on the novel by Walter Tevis, the drama explores the true cost of genius.

Dumped at a Kentucky orphanage in the late 1950s by her mentally ill mother, a young Beth Harmon, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, discovers a talent for chess and develops a raging addiction to the tranquilisers she and the other children are given.

The precocious child chess genius transforms into a glamorous but flawed adult determined to conquer the male-dominated world of competitive chess.

Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon in The Queen’s Gambit.
Camera IconAnya Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon in The Queen’s Gambit. Credit: Charlie Gray/Netflix

The Queen’s Gambit has been embraced by critics, holding an incredible 100 per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

TIME Magazine said: “It's probably no coincidence that a story about chess thrives on confounding audience expectations”, while Variety said it managed to “personalise the game and its players thanks to clever storytelling and, in Anya Taylor-Joy, a lead actor so magnetic that when she stares down the camera lens, her flinty glare threatens to cut right through it”.

Its star Taylor -Joy, also shared the exciting news about the incredible ratings win on Twitter this morning.

Since it launched on October 23, the series has also seen a renewed interested in the game of chess, with Google searches for ‘How to Play Chess’ hitting a nine-year peak.

The novel has also entered The New York Times bestseller list, 37 years after its release.

Despite its leading actor being heralded as a rising star, Taylor-Joy said in an interview yesterday she didn’t think she was beautiful enough to be on screen.

“I have never and I don’t think I will ever think of myself as beautiful,” the 24-year-old told The Sun.

“It sounds pathetic and my boyfriend warns me people will think I’m an absolute d... for saying these things, but I just think I’m weird-looking.”

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