The corporation, which came under fire last week after pulling regularly scheduled programming across all channels to run blanket coverage of Prince Philip, is unapologetic for its decision.
“The passing of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was a significant event which generated a lot of interest both nationally and internationally,” said the BBC in a statement posted to its Complaints page on Thursday, almost a week after the royal’s death. As reported by Variety, the Beeb set up a dedicated page for viewers upset by the schedule disruptions. The corporation confirmed it received 104,010 complaints up to April 11. At time of publication, the figure stands at 109,741.
“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.”
Funeral coverage will kick off on BBC One on Friday night with “HRH The Duke of Edinburgh Remembered” at 7 p.m., which finds presenter Huw Edwards delivering live coverage from Windsor Castle on the eve of the funeral. Those playing key roles in the ceremonial procession and funeral service will be featured, along with guests who knew the duke, and royal experts.
On Saturday, the day of the funeral, BBC One at 11 a.m. will air hour-long documentary “The Duke: In His Own Words,” which followed Prince Philip as he took camera crews around Windsor Castle a number of years back. The news at noon will then go straight into “The Funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” which will air from 12:30 p.m. until 4:20 p.m.
The program will cover the full military procession that’s set to go ahead, with members of the royal family accompanying the coffin as it travels from Windsor Castle to St George’s Chapel. Once again, Huw Edwards will be joined by various guests who are close to the proceedings while JJ Chalmers and Sophie Raworth in Windsor will report on the events from key locations around the castle.
The FA Cup semi-final game, featuring Chelsea and Manchester City, will air at 5 p.m.
Meanwhile, the BBC Two schedule on Saturday remains uninterrupted until 8 p.m., when it will air the funeral.