Interrupted programs, presenters and “God Save the Queen” in the background: the announcement of Prince Philip’s death has shaken British television and radio broadcasts. So much so that the venerable BBC is accused of doing a lot. On Friday afternoon, BBC News, the British public service news channel, interrupts its programs.
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Anchor Martine Crossall, wearing a black jacket, looks serious, her neck tight, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, announces the death of Prince Philip, her 99-year-old Royal Highness. Then the national anthem, “God Save the Queen”, is displayed as a picture of the Duke of Edinburgh, smiling in a medal-deck uniform.
The British Audiovisual Group has shaken off its programs, its BBC One and BBC Two channels, such as BBC 4 and 5 Lives radio stations, broadcasting special programs to transmit information and transfer retrospectives. BBC Four Screen simply displays a message stating that it has suspended its broadcast. To the dismay of fans of this successful culinary competition, the MasterChef final was also canceled. All the reporters of the channel are dressed in black.
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These tributes follow long-established procedures for the deaths of members of the royal family, at a time when the number of channels was much more limited than it is today. They seem somewhat out of date or out of date with the reality of an era when audiences are used to liking, especially with digital platforms. The ubiquity of these programs on all antennas was not to the liking of all the televisiongoers who knew it. The BBC has also set up a special form on its website to file these complaints.
Even a former presenter of the channel is doing…
“We are receiving complaints about excessive television coverage of the death of Prince Philip, Duke of His Royal Highness, Edinburgh. To file a complaint about this, please enter your email address below – we will send you the BBC’s response as soon as it becomes available, ”the public broadcaster said. Former BBC presenter Simon McCoy on Friday questioned the relevance of broadcasting the same program on various channels. “BBC1 and BBC2 broadcast the same thing. And maybe the news channel too. Why? I know this is a very big event. But surely the public deserves a choice in programs? He tweeted.
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Jean Seaton, a professor of media history at the University of Westminster interviewed by AFP, said, “If he had done the opposite, others would have criticized him.” “The BBC made us aware of something that is an important moment in the life of the nation.” Public Channel Channel 4, for its part, also faced criticism, but largely for following its program with the exception of a few documentaries on the Duke of Edinburgh. With the daily The Mirror, Channel 4 defended itself, explaining that it was “the duty to present a substitute for others (chains)”.
Complicated times for the BBC
Jean Seaton underlines the “special link between the BBC and British institutions”. “The BBC is a British national institution, it shares certain characteristics with the monarchy in a way, it is a duty to the British public, which does not mean that everyone has to give what they want all the time, But this is one Ms. Seaton noted that both represent and serve the British public. In modern times the BBC is trying to save millions.
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Attacked from the right and left for its coverage of Brexit in terms of power, public groups also have the challenge of adopting new public habits and the success of paid platforms such as Netflix. His boss, Tim Davey, warned in September 2020 that he would not hesitate to put a crack on Twitter, until a possible dismissal against employees of the British public broadcasting group lacking in fairness. He is also committed to promoting diversity within the public audio-visual group.