By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
The BBC has set up a dedicated page allowing people to complain about “too much TV coverage” of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.
The broadcaster suspended its Friday schedule across both BBC One and BBC Two to run a series of mirrored special programmes about the duke, who died at Windsor Castle aged 99.
BBC Four was suspended and showed a message urging viewers to switch over for a “major news report”, while BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live also aired special programming reflecting his life.
The rolling news coverage meant the final of MasterChef, which was due to air at 8.30pm on BBC One, was not shown.
— ITV News (@itvnews) April 9, 2021
ITV also made schedule changes following the news, leading up to an extended News At Ten at 10pm.
The BBC later established a dedicated form on its website after receiving complaints about its coverage, which prompted a mixed reaction from viewers on social media.
It read: “We’re receiving complaints about too much TV coverage of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Please enter your email address below to register a complaint about this – we’ll then send you the BBC’s response as soon as it is available.”
The broadcaster declined to comment further.
Earlier it had said in a statement: “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.”
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?
— Simon McCoy (@SimonMcCoyTV) April 9, 2021
Former BBC presenter Simon McCoy, who recently left to join GB News, questioned the decision to duplicate the schedule across channels.
He wrote on Twitter: “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?”
Channel 4, meanwhile, on Friday aired an obituary programme at 4pm and featured an extended 90-minute news broadcast at 7pm before returning to its peak time schedule for the final of reality show The Circle.
On Saturday, the BBC again made schedule changes, with BBC One featuring a BBC News special on Philip from 10am until 2pm.
As a consequence, shows including Saturday Kitchen Live, Recipes That Made Me and Football Focus were shifted to BBC Two.
To make room, programmes including Blue Peter air on BBC Two earlier than usual, with Friday’s planned episode of Flog It, which was cancelled following the announcement of the duke’s death, slotted into the schedule at 2pm.