Most Brits thought coverage of Prince Philip death was 'too much', poll shows

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3 min read

Watch: BBC receives record 100,000 complaints after wall-to-wall Prince Philip death coverage

More than half of Britons thought the coverage of Prince Philip's death across television and newspapers was "too much", according to a YouGov poll.

Television networks cut their planned programming around midday on 9 April after Buckingham Palace announced the Duke of Edinburgh had died that morning.

The BBC had the same coverage across BBC One and BBC Two, with programmes like EastEnders and MasterChef postponed in the evening in place of tribute shows.

ITV followed a similar pattern of tribute shows in place of planned programming, but Channel 4 did run its usual Friday evening broadcasts, including the final of The Circle.

On Tuesday, a YouGov poll of more than 4,500 people in the UK found that more than half (57%) thought the hours of programming was "too much".

Nearly a third, 32%, thought it was "about right", and only 2% thought it was "too little".

More than half of respondents thought it was too much. (YouGov)
More than half of respondents thought it was too much. (YouGov)

Read more: Have your say: Do you think the BBC's coverage of Prince Philip's death was over the top?

YouGov found that those aged over 65 were slightly more likely to think there was the right amount of coverage than any other age group, at 38%.

However 59% of the same age group said it was too much.

Women were slightly more likely to think it was just right, at 36% compared to 29% of men.

Respondents who voted Conservative were the most closely split, with 50% thinking it was too much and 44% thinking it was about right. 

As well as hours of back to back coverage on BBC channels, which went into Saturday lunchtime, British newspapers dedicated hundreds of pages to reporting on Philip's death in the days after it was announced.

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According to Press Gazette, UK national newspapers published more than 540 pages on Prince Philip by Monday morning.

Its analysis found there were 348 main pages of coverage and 201 in supplements and pullouts.

Saturday's Daily Mail produced the most, it found, with 33 pages on the Duke of Edinburgh and a 32-page souvenir supplement.

It was reported on Tuesday that the BBC received more than 100,000 complaints about its coverage of the duke's death.

The corporation was so swamped by complaints over the weekend that it streamlined its form to allow people to register their frustration quicker.

A BBC spokesperson said: "We are proud of our coverage and the role we play during moments of national significance."

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: A selection of the UK newspaper front pages paying tribute to Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh who died at age 99 on April 10, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. The Queen announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. HRH passed away peacefully April 9th at Windsor Castle. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
A selection of the UK newspaper front pages paying tribute to Prince Philip, the day after his death. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Early statistics on viewer figures suggest the continued coverage of the death meant people tuned out, with all the main channels down week on week compared to 2 April.

BBC1, which would have aired the MasterChef final on Friday evening, was down 6% compared to the week before, while BBC2 was down 65%.

ITV was down 60% and Channel 4 was down 8.5%, according to Deadline editor Jake Kanter.

Despite the complaints and the drop in ratings, Prince Philip's funeral will be broadcast on BBC and ITV on 17 April, likely with coverage in the run up to the 3pm ceremony as well.