Steven Barnett speaks to Brazilian newspaper Valor about the BBC’s coverage of Prince Philip’s death

23 April 2021
  • Prince_Phillip_looking_at_City_Hall,_November_2008

Professor Steven Barnett recently spoke to Valor, Brazil’s largest circulation financial newspaper, about the BBC’s coverage of the death of Prince Philip. The article reports on the deluge of complaints received by the BBC following the cancellation of television schedules. Barnett suggests that while “people were genuinely upset, it was a miscalculation of the broadcasters, to the point that the viewer had no choice. It wasn’t just the BBC and its channels and radio stations. Other big ones, like ITV and Channel 4, also overestimated the sense of shock or grief. It was sad, but he was a 99-year-old man, that was recently in hospital, and everyone knew he didn’t have many years to go.”

Barnett goes on to say that producers have spent the past 30 years preparing for this moment –  “they had ties and black suits in the news desk drawer. Everything was ready. So, they just pressed a button without thinking twice”.  In evidence of this miscalculation Barnett points out that Gogglebox on Channel 4 had a record audience on the night of the Prince’s death as people were changing channels to avoid the blanket coverage.

The full article (in Portuguese) can be read on the Valor website.

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