The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip died aged 99 on Friday, April 9. Shortly after the news was announced by the Royal Family, broadcasters up and down the country brought a halt to regular programming, with ITV ending This Morning early and revamping its evening schedule and the BBC postponing all non-news programmes on the day of his death. However, the blanket coverage in memory of the duke resulted in the BBC receiving over 100,000 complaints from disgruntled viewers.
In fact, the BBC even set up a dedicated complaints platform for viewers who weren’t pleased with the scheduling shake-up to voice their disdain.
But now almost a week on from Prince Philip’s death, the BBC has addressed the complaints directed its way.
The statement from the BBC [via Deadline] reads: “The passing 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 TV and Radio schedules.”
It continued: “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.”
The BBC overhauled its scheduling for the Friday afternoon and evening which meant a number of its fan-favourite shows were rearranged.
Masterchef’s 2021 finale was due to take place on Friday but was instead postponed until Wednesday, April 14.
The One Show with Alex Jones was also cancelled, on the same day former Strictly Come Dancing star Michelle Visage was supposed to make her hosting debut.
EastEnders, like ITV soaps Emmerdale and Coronation, was also delayed until the following Monday.
A BBC spokesperson said at the time: “With the sad news that HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, 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.”
Programming dedicated to Prince Philip’s has continued to dominate TV listings in the week since his death.
And on Saturday, the BBC will televise the duke’s funeral from St Geroge’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
The Saturday schedule for BBC One on Saturday, April 17 is as follows:
- 10am – BBC News
- 11am – The Duke: In His Own Words
- 12pm – BBC Weekend News
- 12.30pm – The Funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
- 4.20pm – BBC Weekend News
Due to Covid restrictions, the funeral for Prince Philip will look very different to other late members of the Royal Family.
Only 30 guests are permitted to intend, which will, of course, include The Queen, Prince William, Prince Charles and Prince Harry.
Members of the public have been urged to stay away from proceedings as social distancing measures remain in place.