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BBC's Prince Philip Coverage 'Receives Record Number Of Complaints'

Matt Bagwell
·Head of Entertainment, HuffPost UK
·2 min read

More than 100,000 viewers have reportedly complained to the BBC about its coverage of the death of Prince Philip, a record in British TV history.

The broadcaster set up a dedicated webpage for viewers to lodge their dissatisfaction at its coverage after it cleared its schedules to cover The Duke Of Edinburgh’s death on Friday.

It has now received more than 100,000 complaints, according to The Sun.

That would be a record for complaints in British television history, beating the previous high of 63,000 sparked by the BBC’s screening of Jerry Springer: The Musical in 2005 and Russell Brand’s prank call to actor Andrew Sachs, which drew 42,000 complaints in 2008.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh  (Photo: Samir Hussein via Getty Images)
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (Photo: Samir Hussein via Getty Images)

A BBC spokesperson said: “We are proud of our coverage and the role we play during moments of national significance.”

However, it declined to confirm the number of complaints it received. The corporation previously said it would release its fortnightly complaints bulletin on Thursday as planned.

Following the duke’s death at Windsor Castle aged 99, the BBC wiped its schedules across both BBC One and BBC Two to run a series of mirrored special programmes about Philip.

Viewers tuning into BBC Four were greeted with a message urging them to switch over for a “major news report”, while BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live also aired programmes about the duke.

The rolling news coverage meant the final of MasterChef, which was due to air at 8.30pm on BBC One, was not shown.

BBC Broadcasting House (Photo: coldsnowstorm via Getty Images)
BBC Broadcasting House (Photo: coldsnowstorm via Getty Images)

Many viewers turned away as the day wore on, with ITV’s Friday night audience declining by 60% in comparison to the previous week, according to overnight figures.

The most-watched programme on a single channel on Friday night was Channel 4′s Gogglebox, with 4.2 million viewers.

The BBC later established the dedicated form on its website after receiving complaints about its coverage.

Former BBC presenter Simon McCoy, who recently left to join GB News, was among those criticising the corporation.

He wrote on Twitter: “BBC1 and BBC2 showing the same thing. And presumably the News Channel too. Why? I know this is a huge event. But surely the public deserve a choice of programming.”

READ MORE:

Prince Philip Dead: Duke Of Edinburgh Remembered By The World Of Entertainment

Meghan Markle And Prince Harry Pay Tribute To Prince Philip: 'You Will Be Greatly Missed'

The Crown's Matt Smith And Tobias Menzies Pay Tribute To Prince Philip

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.