After allegedly receiving a record number of complaints regarding how it handled the news of Prince Philip’s death, the BBC is standing by its coverage.
As The Guardian reported on Monday, the BBC’s coverage of the royal’s death received the most complaints in the history of British television, mostly due to the public expressing irritation that certain shows were taken off the air and replaced with memorials to the late royal. The BBC has not confirmed the number of complaints.
The outlet reported that at least 110,994 people had reached out to BBC to complain about the network’s choice to air coverage about the passing of the Queen’s husband instead of other shows.
“According to an internal BBC complaints log, seen by the Guardian, an unprecedented level of viewer feedback was received over the weekend, meaning the coverage appears to have elicited one of the most negative reactions to BBC programmes ever seen,” the outlet reported. The complaints were not only about the news coverage; some viewers shared their frustration that Prince Andrew had been included despite his connection to the late convicted sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein. Some also complained that BBC television hosts were not dressed in appropriately respectful clothing.
One person reportedly commented, “Coverage of this event took up the entire evening broadcast to the exclusion of all other topics, including the ongoing topic of the pandemic. Some coverage was justified, but not to this extent.”
Another said, “It was sad news Prince Philip [sic] died on Friday and I understand the BBC had to acknowledge the fact but on every single one of its channels? Why [not] just put it on one channel for those that want to listen to that drivel and the rest of us can have a bit of music.”
The network set up a specific way for people to complain about the coverage of Prince Philip’s death after the negative feedback increased. However, BBC took down the form, which made it more difficult for people to voice their irritation. The corporation said it was taken down after the number of complaints started to decline.
The Daily Wire reported on the royal’s passing on Friday:
Buckingham Palace announced Philip’s death on Friday. The elderly prince has had a host of health problems and had surgery on his heart last month.
“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle,” a message posted to the royal family’s website says. “Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
Philip and Elizabeth were married for 73 years since they exchanged vows in 1947. Philip spent 65 years supporting Elizabeth as the queen’s consort before retiring from public life in 2017, making him the longest-serving consort in British history.
BBC declined to provide a comment to The Guardian about the numbers that had been leaked over the weekend but will provide an announcement on Thursday as scheduled.
As reported by BBC, the broadcaster opened up its schedules to provide coverage of Prince Philip’s death and said, “We are proud of our coverage and the role we play during moments of national significance.”
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