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Prince Philip dies: BBC brushes off complaints of "excessive coverage"

Prince Philip dies: BBC brushes off complaints of
© Reuters
The BBC dismisses a record volume of complaints about its coverage of the death of Prince Philip but says that it is "grateful for all feedback".

The BBC has defended its coverage of the death of Prince Philip last week after receiving around 110,000 complaints that it went overboard.

Regular programming on BBC One and BBC Two was broken into at 12.09pm on Friday in order to announce the news that the Duke of Edinburgh had passed away at the age of 99 that morning.

The corporation then took the decision to axe all remaining programming for the day as both channels broadcast the same rolling news coverage from BBC News through until Saturday afternoon.

BBC Four was taken off air completely on Friday evening, with an on-screen message urging viewers to switch to BBC One for the news instead.

BBC Four on-screen message after Prince Philip's death© BBC

As of this afternoon, the BBC had received almost 110,000 complaints - a new record - over the decision to broadcast wall-to-wall coverage, with programmes such as EastEnders, Have I Got News For You and the MasterChef final all being delayed.

In response, the BBC said: "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.

"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."

BBC One's coverage of the Duke's death averaged just 2.41 million viewers between 7pm and 11pm on Friday, while Channel 4, which aired a largely unchanged primetime lineup, triumphed with a peak of 4.2 million viewers for Gogglebox.

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Wednesday's key events

· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
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· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

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· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

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