Royal consort Prince Philip died last week, and UK media immediately dropped normal programming in favour of wall-to-wall Philip content. But the famously irascible 99-year-old is failing to generate mourning at the hoped-for scale, as Queen Mother or Princess Diana once did. TV bosses are instead finding that relatively few cared for the old duke and viewers would rather watch their soaps. The BBC has already cancelled a tranche of scheduled grief porn to avoid further complaints.
The BBC declined to comment on the number of complaints it had received about its coverage [but] set up a dedicated form on its website after complaints about its coverage. On the form, it said it had received "complaints about too much TV coverage" of the duke's death, and urged viewers to enter their email address to register a complaint.
The Independent reports that the ratings for Philiparama coverage are simply dire: "BBC and ITV viewing figures plummet amid wall-to-wall royal coverage".
The earliest available overnight ratings, provided by Barb, saw ITV's Friday night (9 April) audience decline by 60 percent in comparison to one week previously. BBC One suffered a similar, if less dramatic, loss of average viewers. In the wake of the Duke of Edinburgh's death, the BBC pulled the entirety of its programming on BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four. It has since set up a dedicated complaints line after being inundated with backlash over the move, which saw the final of MasterChef, along with episodes of EastEnders, The Graham Norton Show and Gardeners World, pulled off air.