London: The BBC’s coverage of the death of Prince Philip has drawn almost 1,10,000 complaints from the public. It has hence become the most complained-about piece of television programming ever in the United Kingdom (UK). Prince Philip breathed his last April 9 at the age of 99.
The broadcaster cleared its normal schedules across two TV channels last Friday to run a series of special programmes. It took the decision after Queen Elizabeth II’s husband died.
Popular shows like EastEnders and the Masterchef cookery competition show were postponed. They were replaced by news programmes and pre-recorded tributes. The ‘BBC Four’ channel was taken off air completely. BBC radio stations also aired programs about Prince Philip.
The BBC said in a statement Thursday that Philip’s death was a ‘significant event which generated a lot of interest both nationally and internationally’. However the BBC acknowledged that some thought the rolling coverage was excessive.
“We acknowledge some viewers were unhappy with the level of coverage given and impact this had on the billed TV and radio schedules,” BBC said.
“We do not make such changes without careful consideration. The decisions made reflect the role the BBC plays as the national broadcaster during moments of national significance,” the broadcaster added.
The corporation also received complaints about its decision to include Prince Andrew in its tributes coverage. This was because Andrew has allegedly been associated with US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The BBC said it had ‘appropriately covered his comments’, fully reported on the allegations against Andrew. It clarified that he had not been charged with any crime.
The last time a UK broadcaster received a flood of complaints was in March. It was when talk show host Piers Morgan commented about Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Morgan’s comments dismissing the duchess’s account of suffering suicidal thoughts and racism in the monarchy drew more than 57,000 complaints.