BBC cops complaints for too much coverage of Prince Philip

The BBC has set up a Complaints page for those unhappy with wall to wall coverage around the Death of Prince Philip.

“We’re receiving complaints about too much TV coverage of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” it declares.

According to Variety,  a MasterChef final and cult favourite Gardeners’ World were pulled to make way for news specials and tribute programs. Programs on BBC Four were suspended, replaced with a statement, “Please switch to BBC One for a major news report.”

While Channel 4 copped some criticism for not shelving programming, a spokesperson said, “As an alternative public service broadcaster Channel 4 also has a duty to offer an alternative to others and, whilst we have marked this sad news appropriately in our schedules and on All 4, we will also continue to offer viewers the majority of our usual peak time schedule including Gogglebox and The Circle tonight.”

Maybe a case of damned if you / don’t….

Deadline also reports the BBC and ITV suffered audience declines between the hours of 7PM and 11PM, when the broadcasters lined up special coverage of the Duke of Edinburgh’s demise.

Here is how the news was first announced on BBC.

Meanwhile in Australia, Nine and ABC switched to rolling coverage along with SKY News on Friday night.


  1. When the news broke, I left it on for a few hours, but next day though, as others have said, it was starting to get annoying not knowing what was on with EPG’s out of whack.

    Cover it, yes, of course, but k now when to stop, and then have a big tribute program at a time frame when the EPG can be updated.

    The 15 minutes on Nine News 6pm was perfect, and plenty.

  2. I think there’s been too much coverage here – so I’d hate to think how much it’s being shown over in the UK.

    Was interesting to note that on all the BBC-owned Foxtel channels the other night, shortly after the announcement, they had the following text continually scrolling across their normal programming hours into the night … “Buckingham Palace has made an important announcement. Full details are available on BBC World News or at”. I find it ridiculous they didn’t actually say what it was.

  3. Way too OTT. Acknowledge if, as was done on Friday night, but much of Saturday, certainly prime time was ridiculous. Wrong TV listings and last minute changes and switches, confused and annoyed viewers more than anything, also looks to have negatively affected ratings (at least Nine). Last Saturday, Nine’s main channel share was significantly higher with Space Invaders and a movie.

  4. People getting tied in a knot about TV coverage, unless you’re frog-marched in and forced to watch then just get a life and change channels.

  5. I do agree. Obviously this is tragic news for the Royal Family, but I getting a little over about every story in the paper being about Phillip’s passing

  6. It was a bit much considering he wasn’t the most popular of Royals. I would understand if the Queen had died. The reporters standing outside the palace being asked what the latest news was 24 hours later was unnecessary. Coronation Street and Eastenders was cancelled too.

  7. Whilst the endless UK talking heads on 7 and 9 was too much, the complaints did remind me of 20th or so July 1969 when the TCN9 switchboard lit up with complains that “Days of Our Lives” was not on but some “moon walking thing”. Not sure why ABC deemed it necessary to air ABC24 on ABC2/20. Why not just a crawl on 2/20 directing interested viewers to 24?

  8. It has been a bit much to be honest. I get he’s an important figure, but it’s not like it was an unfolding story. He was old, had been sick for months and died at home like he wanted. Rolling coverage was not really needed.

  9. The rolling coverage on Australian TV yesterday was just ridiculous. Nothing was happening. It was just the same thing over and over again. Who is interested in this coverage?

  10. Why have separate 24/7 news channels so as to interupt main channels with rolling news coverage? May as well save the money and closedown the 24/7 news channels, take note ABC.

  11. damned if you, damned if you don’t in these situations.

    Was flicking through various channels at the time the Duke passing was announced. At the time, all they had was the statement, so they should have left it at that and run a pre-packaged obit, then returned to normal programming. The various channels didn’t, so for a while they all had to repeat the same statement many times.

    Reactions from world leaders etc could have waited until regularly scheduled news.

  12. carolemorrissey

    Yes, there is nothing more frustrating than going to watch your TV show when a major news event happens like a terrorist attack or a death, only to find wall to wall news coverage. I noticed a lot of people I follow on twitter complaining about Vera not being on. We have a 24 hour news channel for these events. Our regular ABC should continue with their regular programming.

  13. As the main public broadcaster, the BBC has certain protocols to follow when this kind of thing happens. However, it looks like both they and ITV have overestimated the public appetite for coverage.

  14. It was similar when Princess Diana had passed. Back then there was no social media but the complaints were there in public about the seemingly endless and repetitive statements and coverage with bickering between people about disrespect for complaining about it. That was in 1997.

    • To be fair, that was quite different. The most popular Royal, tragically and unexpectedly killed at a young age – there was a lot to that story.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.