It appears that British TV, especially the BBC, decided to go to wall-to-wall coverage of Prince Philip’s death and viewers were not pleased, flooding them with complaints about it all being a bit much.
Viewers switched off their TVs in droves after broadcasters aired blanket coverage of Prince Philip’s death, audience figures revealed on Saturday, and the BBC received so many complaints it opened a dedicated complaints form on its website.
BBC One and BBC Two cleared their schedules of Friday night staples including EastEnders, Gardeners’ World and the final of MasterChef to simulcast pre-recorded tributes from the Duke of Edinburgh’s children.
TV viewers were not pleased. BBC One, which is traditionally the channel that Britons turn on at moments of national significance, was down 6% on the previous week, according to analysis of viewing figures by Deadline. For BBC Two the decision was disastrous – it lost two-thirds of its audience, with only an average of 340,000 people tuning in at any time between 7pm to 11pm. ITV suffered a similar drop after it ditched its Friday night schedule to broadcast tributes to the duke.
The death of a 99-year old man is hardly shocking news. This whole business of ‘official mourning’, where the media pretends that the entire nation is highly upset over the death of someone and is collectively mourning has always been a fiction, to be used as cudgel to beat one’s political opponents with. In reality, apart from close members of the dead person’s family, most people may feel some momentary pangs of sadness but then go on with their lives. They dislike being pressured to be feel something they do not feel.