BBC Breakfast: Expert discusses Prince Philip’s death
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After the palace announced the death of the Duke of Edinburgh shortly after noon on Friday, the Beeb cancelled its planned schedules to air special programmes as a tribute to the prince. But while the move was welcomed by many viewers, a large number were fuming that their favourite programmes such as EastEnders and the MasterChef were sidelined.
The broadcaster set up a streamlined complaints process for those objecting to its response to the duke’s passing.
This is done only when the BBC receives a high number of complaints about a particular issue.
The Beeb is due to publish the number of complaints received on Thursday, two days before the Royal Family bid farewell to their patriarch.
But according to The Sun, the number has already surpassed 100,000.
An insider told the newspaper the broadcaster would likely have still faced a backlash if it had carried less coverage of Philip’s death
They said: “I feel sorry for the Beeb.
“They would be criticised and accused of not being respectful enough if they didn’t lay the programmes on.
“But they seem to have left many people very cross.”
Angry viewers took to Twitter to unleash their fury over the BBC’s handling of the consort’s death.
Some argued the public service broadcaster had pulled out all the stops to cover his death because bosses were fearful of a backlash if they did otherwise.
One man wrote: “The BBC has received so many complaints about their rolling sycophantic coverage they’ve had to set up a specific complaints page.”
A second wrote: “Not surprised at the complaints about the BBC coverage this weekend.
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“Made the terrible mistake of listening to a bit of @BBCRadio2 this morning. The constant talk about grief and mourning and depressing playlist was enough to make me switch off after 20 minutes.”
And another viewer who said she lodged an official complaint said she found the back-to-back coverage “inappropriate”.
She added: “I do feel very sad for the Queen but this non consensual blanket broadcasting across all BBC channels was not good.”
Jim Waterson, The Guardian’s media editor, said the Beeb “adopted wall-to-wall Prince Philip coverage to avoid being criticised in parts of the media and politics”.
But some viewers were fully supportive of the regular programmes being cancelled to make way for news on the historic occasion.
One said the broadcaster was “serving its purpose correctly, with lots of unifying and moving tributes” to Prince Philip.
Another supporter tweeted: “Is there a form to congratulate the @BBC on their excellent coverage of the fascinating life of Prince Philip, and the wonderful tributes to his life?
“It has been a historic day, a worthwhile way to spend my time. RIP.”
Campaigners from Defund the BBC accused the Beeb of encouraging viewers to complain by setting up a streamlined system.
The group said: “Disgraceful! The anti-British BBC has set up a form to encourage complaints about the volume of coverage of Prince Philip’s death.”
A spokeswoman for the BBC told The Sun: “We are proud of our coverage and the role we play during moments of national significance.”
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