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TV & Radio

BBC receives 1,350 complaints for 'excessive' Mandela coverage, including some viewers angry at interruption of 'Mrs Brown's Boys'

Complaints of insufficient coverage of storm surge battering Britain

The BBC has been forced to defend its coverage of the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela after more than 1,300 viewers complained that it was excessive.

As of today the BBC had received 1,350 complaints from viewers, including some who grumbled about the comedy programme 'Mrs Brown's Boys' being interrupted. Programme chiefs broke into a repeat of the BBC1 sitcom to break the news.

A number of the complainants said that too much time was spent reflecting on the death of Mr Mandela and not enough on the record storm surge that hit Britain on the same night.

BBC News director, James Harding, defended the corporation's coverage saying Mr Mandela was a man of "singular significance" and the "most significant statesman of the last 100 years".

A BBC spokeswoman said today: "Nelson Mandela was a hugely significant world leader with an enormous political and cultural influence across the world. His death is of considerable interest to our audiences at home and across the globe.

"We know that people turn to the BBC for authoritative coverage of breaking news and we will continue to provide comprehensive coverage for a wide range of BBC News outlets, across TV, radio and online, as the world reacts to his passing, reflects on his legacy, and prepares for his funeral.

"After the initial announcement we have, of course, continued to cover other major stories as they have developed."