BBC to air three lengthy Prince Philip programmes in 24 hours despite record complaints over wall-to-wall death coverage


THE BBC is set to air three lengthy Prince Philip programmes in 24 hours – despite the record number of complaints received over their wall-to-wall coverage of his death.

The Beeb tore up its usual schedule after news of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death broke shortly after noon last Friday – and have received 100,000 complaints since.

Read our Prince Philip funeral live blog for the latest updates

The BBC’s coverage of Prince Philip’s death has turned many viewers off – with a record number of complaints
Prince Philip and the Queen pictured last year
Prince Philip and the Queen pictured last year

Now, the BBC is to mark the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh with a series of special programmes.

Huw Edwards will lead the broadcaster’s coverage of the funeral in three programmes broadcast from Windsor across Friday and Saturday.  

After the announcement of his death on Friday, the BBC’s telly and radio channels laid on a string of special programmes chronicling Philip’s life.

But many viewers were left fuming after their favourite shows – including the MasterChef final – were ditched so special tribute programmes could be laid on.

The coverage has become the most complained about television event in British history.

The previous record was the BBC’s screening of Jerry Springer: The Musical which sparked 63,000 complaints in 2005.

So many angry telly fans contacted to moan about the constant coverage that the BBC put a special form on their website to make it easier to process the gripes.

The form is only used when the Corporation deals with a large number of complaints.

However, the BBC then removed an online form it created to handle complaints – because of the relentless number of criticisms.

The corporation told HOAR Online that the form was a “temporary” measure which is standard practice when dealing with “a volume of complaints.”


This comes as viewers bashed the broadcaster for its blanket coverage which saw multiple channels screening the same programme.

Former government minister Chris Mullins called the “North Korea-style” coverage a “big mistake” while others branded it “hysterical.”

Meanwhile, BBC Two’s viewing figures reportedly plunged by 64 per cent compared to the week before, following their coverage of the Duke.

BBC One’s numbers also suffered, falling by six per cent from 2.56m last Friday to 2.41m on Friday evening, reports say.

BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Scotland, BBC News, and BBC Alba were all broadcasting identical feeds with a number of scheduled programmes pulled.

Last Saturday, the Beeb again made changes, with BBC One featuring a BBC News special on Philip from 10am until 2pm.

The online complaints form has been pulled by the Beeb

The online complaints form was pulled by the Beeb

In the complaints tab of its website, the Beeb said: ‘We’re receiving complaints about too much TV coverage of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.”

Among those to complain on Twitter was former BBC newsreader Simon McCoy who is set to join new channel GB News after quitting the corporation last month.

He wrote: “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?”

Yet, others rushed to the BBC’s defence.

One user shared praise for the broadcaster, saying: “Have to give credit to the BBC for their coverage of Prince Philip.

“They’ve finally managed to capture the mood of the country.”

Both the BBC and ITV interrupted programming on Friday to announce the passing of the Duke – who died just two months short of his 100th birthday.

The rolling coverage meant the hotly anticipated MasterChef final, which was due to air on BBC One, was not shown.

BBC radio stations also immediately interrupted broadcasts with the news of his death.

The Beeb said on Friday: “With the sad news that HRH Prince Philip has died, there is now special coverage across all BBC networks to mark his life of extraordinary public service and planned scheduling has been suspended.”