ABC says 75% of complaints about Prince Philip coverage related to interruption of TV drama Vera

Australia¡¯s national broadcaster received 435 complaints and fans flooded social media to demand switch back to regular programming

BBC¡¯s Prince Philip coverage breaks UK TV complaints record

The ABC logo
The ABC received over 400 complaints over its coverage of Prince Philip¡¯s death. Photograph: Tracey Nearmy/AAP
The ABC received over 400 complaints over its coverage of Prince Philip¡¯s death. Photograph: Tracey Nearmy/AAP

Last modified on Mon 12 Apr 2021 18.03 EDT

The ABC received over 400 complaints over its coverage of Prince Philip¡¯s death after the breaking news on Friday night interrupted an episode of the much-loved TV show Vera.

The national broadcaster said in a statement that the ABC has received ¡°a relatively low 435 complaints about its overall coverage, more than three-quarters of which relate to the interruption of Vera¡±.

¡°Other complaints were about other matters, such as the duration of our coverage,¡± the statement continued.

Now on its seventh season, Vera is a British crime drama that follows Det Chief Insp Vera Stanhope as she solves chilling murders.

Fans also flooded the ABC¡¯s social media accounts on Friday night, demanding that the broadcaster switch back to its regular programming.

¡°End of an era, now back to Vera!¡± one user commented on the ABC¡¯s Facebook post first reporting the Duke of Edinburgh¡¯s passing.

¡°Feel so sorry for Annabel Crabb being dragged to the studio in the middle of Vera,¡± another wrote.

¡°Was enjoying Vera on ABC after a hard day¡¯s work only for it to be interrupted by breaking news. OK so Prince Philip died but do we have to have a continuous discussion about it? I wanna know who done in the student on Vera!¡± another Twitter user posted.

It wasn¡¯t just ABC TV¡¯s effusive coverage of Philip¡¯s death that prompted objections.

ABC online sent at least six breaking news alerts following the prince¡¯s death and launched more than 50 pieces of content under its somewhat anachronistically-named topic tag: ¡°Royal and Imperial Matters¡±.

The ABC¡¯s experience mirrored that of the BBC, where viewers switched off their TVs in droves amid blanket coverage of Prince Philip¡¯s death and flooded the broadcaster with complaints.

The BBC fielded so many complaints it opened a dedicated form on its website ¨C but even the form proved controversial, with some conservatives claiming it was ¡°prompting a response¡±. It was later shut down.

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