BBC hits back at critics of ‘excessive’ Prince Philip funeral coverage after complaints
Prince Philip funeral: Huw Edwards reflects on service
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Following his death on April 9, the BBC and several other UK broadcasters revamped TV listings in order to pay tribute to Prince Philip. The overhaul of scheduling on the Friday of his death garnered quite the backlash, with irked viewers lodging over 110,000 complaints to Ofcom for the blanket coverage, resulting in the BBC even setting up its own complaints form for people to fill in. And after airing coverage of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral on Saturday, April 17, the broadcaster has faced even more complaints from disgruntled viewers.
The Saturday of Prince Philip’s funeral saw the BBC dedicate approximately four hours of coverage out of respect for the duke.
However, it still kept its schedule on BBC Two, will the sister channel airing the Snooker World Championships instead.
On BBC One and the BBC News Channel, however, Huw Edwards fronted the coverage of the ceremony, joined by famous friends of the duke and a number of royal experts.
But after more complaints poured in, the BBC has defended the amount of time dedicated to the ceremony, reiterating it was a “significant event”.
The BBC said on its site [via The Sun]: “The funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was a significant event which generated a lot of interest both nationally and internationally.
“We acknowledge some viewers were unhappy with the level of coverage given, and impact this had on the billed BBC One schedule.
“We do not make such changes without careful consideration, and the decisions made reflect the role the BBC plays as the national broadcaster during moments of national significance.
“We are grateful for all feedback, and we always listen to the response from our audiences.”
This statement echoed the one issued following the complaints made on the day of Prince Philip’s death.
Elsewhere, ITV dedicated approximately three hours of coverage for the funeral.
Royal presenter Tom Bradby and newsreader Julie Etchingham oversaw proceedings on the rival network.
However, it wasn’t just the length of BBC’s coverage of the event which led to viewers voicing their disdain.
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A number of viewers found themselves opting for ITV’s coverage of Prince Philip’s funeral over the BBC after claiming Huw ‘talked over’ proceedings.
Taking to Twitter, one person vented: “Poor coverage by the Beeb. Huw Edwards just kept talking throughout.
“Repetition, the same coverage as all the other programmes. ITV did a more sensitive and moving programme. Get a grip BBC.”
While a second viewer weighed in: “I switched to ITV coverage of the funeral because Huw Edwards’ constant inane chatter was driving us crackers.”
However, others were quick to defend the coverage following the overwhelming number of complaints sent the BBC’s way.
“Over 13.6 million watched Prince Philip’s funeral in the UK. Puts the 100,000 who complained to the BBC about too much coverage in their place,” one fan vented.
The likes of Channel 4 and Channel 5 opted to air regular programming during the funeral instead of dedicated coverage.
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