Not everyone was happy when the BBC postponed the MasterChef final on Friday and dedicate over 24 hours of broadcasting to blanket coverage of Prince Philip’s death, with the channel eventually setting up and then deleting an online complaints form for frustrated viewers.
When Buckingham Palace confirmed the duke’s passing on 9 April, BBC One and BBC Two cleared the air to run specials about the late Queen’s husband until the programming schedule went back to normal at 2 pm on Saturday.
But according to the corporation, during this time of mourning, they were flooded with “complaints about too much TV coverage of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” prompting the BBC to set up the now deleted special online form on its website to deal with the avalanche of grievances.
"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 form read, according to a screenshot shared by the Daily Mail.
As of 11 April, it was taken down; according to the Guardian, there's nothing unusual about dealing with a large volume of complaints by temporarily issuing such a form.
The BBC hasn't revealed the extent of discontent over the cancellation of EastEnders and Gardeners’ World during the weekend, as well as its decision not to air the England women's football team’s international friendly against France on 9 April.
But ratings data calculated by Deadline shows that the UK’s most watched channel BBC One suffered a 6 percent drop in viewers on Friday evening, while BBC Two lost over 600,000 viewers in comparison to the previous week’s numbers. ITV also lost out on Friday while airing tributes to Prince Philip.
Some people expressed their outrage online and demanded the broadcasters re-schedule their favourite shows as quickly as possible.
You’d think they’d just show Fridays episode of eastenders tonight? Instead of showing tonight’s? 🤔— Michelle Pryde (@michellepryde) April 12, 2021
@BBCOne Please can you tell us when the final of Masterchef is being aired!??— Sarah Helen (@SarahHe35544420) April 12, 2021
@BBCOne Would you please tell me, when I can watch The Masterchef 2021 final?— Alan Dickinson (@bigalandi) April 12, 2021
As such, journalist Chris Mullin said on Twitter that the BBC was “making a big mistake” with its “North Korean style coverage of Prince Philip.”
The BBC making a big mistake with its North Korean style coverage of Prince Philip. Can only alienate more licence payers at a time when it needs all the public support it can get.— Chris Mullin (@chrismullinexmp) April 10, 2021
Prince Philip, 99, passed away on Friday at Windsor after returning from a hospital where he spent a month while being treated for “an infection” and pre-existing heart condition. His funeral is scheduled to take place on 17 April, with Prince Harry attending.