Prince Philip: Was the BBC coverage on his death too excessive? Chron readers have their say

The BBC received over 100,000 complaints from the public over its coverage of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death

Friday, 16th April 2021, 3:47 pm

The BBC reported that it received a total of 109,741 complaints from the public about its coverage on the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, making it the most complained about piece of programming in BBC history.

The corporation cleared its schedules to cover the news when Prince Philip died on Friday, April 9 at the age of 99. The schedules were wiped completely across BBC One and BBC two in favour of running a series of special programmes about the Duke of Edinburgh’s life.

BBC four was taken off air completely and BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live also aired programmes about the duke.

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HRH, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.

In response to the complaints, the BBC released a statement that said: “The passing of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was a significant event which generated a lot of interest both nationally and internationally.

“We acknowledge some viewers were unhappy with the level of coverage given, and impact this had on the billed TV and Radio schedules.

“We do not make such changes without careful consideration and the decisions made reflect the role the BBC plays as the national broadcaster, during moments of national significance.

“We are grateful for all feedback, and we always listen to the response from our audiences.”

The Northampton Chronicle & Echo asked its readers if they think the corporation was right to clear its schedule to cover the news or if they think it was the wrong move.

Many shared the sentiment that the move was necessary out of respect for the royal family. One reader, Katrina Ludford said: “Absolutely people need to stop complaining. I think all non-essential programs should have been shelved. We're supposed to be in national mourning. People have been absolutely disrespectful. Other TV stations should have only aired news, Prince Philip or respectable music.”

Another reader, Lynn Powell was in agreement. She said: “This is the husband of our monarch who has given 80 years service to the people of this country. One day, just one day to pay our respects in acknowledging his life and his service in supporting the Queen and the work he has done. What is the matter with these people?”

Other readers, however, believe that the BBC coverage on Prince Philip’s death was excessive and, instead of clearing its schedules entirely, should have had a dedicated channel for those mourning his death.

Andy Smith said: “The decision of BBC to devote its schedule nearly to its entirety did demonstrate how out of touch with the licence payer it is. There is a percentage of the population who either have no interest in the monarchy and or are republicans. The BBC should have dedicated a specific channel to allow mourning.”

Some readers agreed, stating that they felt the coverage became ‘too repetitive’.

Mark Mayes commented: “The problem was the total overkill. Constant back and forwards to reporters who had nothing new to add to the Palace release. Some of the footage of Philip was interesting but then they started repeating it! The guy was a legend but I think they went OTT [over the top] on it.”

Prince Philip’s funeral will be taking place in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle tomorrow at 3pm (Saturday, April 17) and will be broadcast across the nation.

The proceedings have been scaled down due to coronavirus restrictions and attendance is limited to 30 people.

The Chron has set up a ‘Book of Condolence’ for our readers to leave their tributes and memories of HRH, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. These messages will be published in the Thursday, April 22 edition of our newspaper. You can leave your message here: https://bit.ly/3uL5SQA.