Charlie Stayt backlash as BBC flooded with complaints over appearance after Duke’s death
Prince Philip: BBC coverage breaks UK TV complaints record
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Stayt, 58, was joined by fellow BBC Breakfast presenter Burden, 46, on Saturday morning in replacement of his usual co-host, Naga Munchetty, 46. The pair were tasked with reporting on the world’s reaction to the death of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, at the age of 99 less than 24 hours after the royal consort had passed away. However, BBC viewers were quick to complain that Stayt was not in mourning attire, which is usual tradition for journalists to wear in the wake of a Royal death, resulting in 130 complaints being lodged.
The four-hour show was focused intently on the tributes flowing in from across the UK and around the globe for the late Duke.
Whereas Burden opted to follow the dress code and wear a black dress, her co-star wore attire that was slightly lighter in tone.
Stayt was seen sitting on the sofa in a navy suit, accompanied with a white shite and a dark green tie to complete the look.
On the morning in questions, viewers flocked to Twitter to share their disapproval of the host’s decision not to wear black.
However, according to the fortnightly report from the BBC’s complaints department [via The Mirror], official grievances had been received for the programme.
Detailing the main issue arising from the complaints, the broadcaster wrote that “presenters were not appropriately dressed to mark the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.”
Though, this wasn’t the largest number of complaints the BBC had to deal with over their coverage of the Duke’s death.
More than 109,741 grievances have been counted for the network’s decision to pull its entire Friday schedule to replace it with continuous news coverage.
From the moment Prince Philip’s death was announced on the channel at midday on Friday, April 9, 2021, the news took over until the same time the next day.
Presenters were not appropriately dressed
If non-news shows weren’t cancelled, they were given a slot on BBC Two to make up for the disturbance caused to regular programming.
Explaining its decision at the time, the BBC said: “It was a significant event which generated a lot of interest both nationally and internationally.
“We acknowledge some viewers were unhappy with the level of coverage given, and the 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.”
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“We are grateful for all feedback, and we always listen to the response from our audiences,” the broadcaster continued.
Once again, the network’s Saturday schedule is undergoing a shake-up for coverage of the Duke’s funeral this weekend.
From 12:30pm on Saturday afternoon until 5pm, the normal shows on the schedule have been removed and replaced with a special news show.
Viewers will be able to watch the snooker on BBC Two and tune in for the Match of the Day FA Cup special later on in the evening on BBC One.
Due to the number of complaints lodged over coverage of Prince Philip’s funeral, it has now become a new record for the BBC.
Its decision to change its schedules at the last minute has become the most complained-about piece of programming in BBC history.
ITV also followed suit by getting rid of the planned content for Friday afternoon and evening, replacing it with news shows instead.
Channel 4 offered an alternative following a few hours of coverage of the Duke’s death and resumed their normal programming.
BBC Breakfast airs weekdays at 6am on BBC One.
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