‘Put Vera back on!’: TV coverage of duke’s death sparks wave of complaints

TV detective drama <i>Vera</i> was dumped on Friday, sparking a wave of complaints.

TV detective drama Vera was dumped on Friday, sparking a wave of complaints. Photo: Getty

The BBC has reportedly received more than 100,000 complaints about its coverage of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, a British TV record.

The broadcaster set up a dedicated webpage for viewers to lodge their dissatisfaction at its coverage after it cleared its schedules to cover Philip’s death on Friday.

British soap EastEnders and the MasterChef final were among the shows dumped.

The BBC has now received more than 100,000 complaints, according to The Sun newspaper.

The complaints were echoed in Australia, where the ABC drew criticism after it cut into British crime drama Vera on Friday night to deliver the news.

“Enough of this, they have been dribbling on for an hour now about it… PUT VERA BACK ON!!” one viewer wrote on social media.

“End of an era, now back to Vera!” said another.

An ABC spokesperson said the broadcaster had received more than 400 complaints about its coverage of the duke’s death – three-quarters of them from Vera viewers.

“The ABC’s coverage attracted strong audiences across our platforms, including an increase in audience engagement for ABC News articles and social media content,” a spokesperson said.

But Britain’s tally of 100,000 grizzles would be a record for complaints in its TV history, beating the previous high of 63,000 sparked by the BBC’s screening of Jerry Springer: The Musical in 2005.

“We are proud of our coverage and the role we play during moments of national significance,” a BBC spokesperson said on Monday.

The corporation previously said it would release its regular fortnightly complaints bulletin on Thursday.

Following the duke’s death at Windsor Castle, the BBC wiped schedules across BBC One and BBC Two to run a series of mirrored special programs.

Viewers tuning into BBC Four were greeted with a message urging them to switch over for a “major news report”, while BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live also aired programs about the duke.

The BBC later established the dedicated form on its website after receiving complaints about its coverage.

Former BBC presenter Simon McCoy, who recently left to join GB News, was among those criticising the corporation.

“BBC1 and BBC2 showing the same thing. And presumably the News Channel too. Why?” he wrote.

“I know this is a huge event. But surely the public deserve a choice of programming.”

Nor were criticisms about the coverage of Prince Philip’s death were not isolated to Britain.

-with AAP

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