The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, has passed away aged 99, with news of his death newscast across the world. But broadcasting the right amount of coverage has proven a difficult task for the United Kingdom and Australia’s public broadcasters.
After the BBC (on BBC One and BBC Two) axed its Friday night programming to simulcast tributes from the Duke of Edinburgh’s children, the UK public broadcaster opened a dedicated online form to process complaints about its blanket coverage of Prince Philip’s death.
The BBC was forced to take down the form after the number of complaints reached a peak, The Guardian reports, with its viewership numbers falling by six per cent on BBC One.
According to an analysis of viewers by Deadline, BBC Two also took a hit, losing two-thirds of its audience, while ITV experienced a drop after it cancelled its Friday night programming.
The Independent reports ITV’s audience for Friday night took a 60 per cent hit, compared to the previous week. While the highest rating television show aired on Channel 4: Gogglebox reportedly drew 4.2 million viewers.
The BBC would not reveal how many complaints it had received, but the approach to use such a form is understood to be a standard approach.
The rate at which the complaints are now being received is said to have dropped.
Meanwhile, on Australian shores coverage of Prince Philip’s passing was also met with criticism at the ABC, where the public broadcaster cut into the British crime drama, Vera, to deliver its broadcast.
Behold the majesty and power of disgruntled ABC viewers losing it over Vera being interrupted by Prince Phillip’s death pic.twitter.com/EuWl8Hw1I4
— Benjamin Law 羅旭能 (@mrbenjaminlaw) April 9, 2021
“Enough of this, they have been dribbling on for an hour now about it… PUT VERA BACK ON!!” one viewer wrote on social media.
“Come on ABC, enough. Can’t even get Vera on iView!” another wrote.
According to an ABC News report, nearly 200 complaints had been received from Vera viewers.
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