The BBC’s coverage of Prince Philip’s death was enforced grieving – people were right to complain

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Tuesday 13 April 2021 18:32
The moment the BBC announced Prince Philip had died

Rupert Hawksley misses a crucial point about complaints to the BBC about its coverage of Prince Philip’s death. The principal reason for any complaint is to ensure one’s point of view is known. Unless viewers complain, the BBC will be unaware that anyone disagrees with its coverage. 

I don’t have television, but if I did, I would surely complain about an organisation which has crossed the line from showing its own respect for the Duke, into enforcing a similar display from us. A nation mourns, but possibly for the loss of its autonomy and self-respect as much as for the departed consort.

Rachael Padman

Newmarket, Suffolk


I was bemused by Rupert Hawksley’s editor’s letter, in which he wonders how people find the time to complain to the BBC, and whether they have nothing better to do. He wonders how long it takes.

Perhaps I can be of some assistance: it takes no longer than writing a letter to The Independent. To their credit, the BBC make it easy, especially online.

But why do it in this instance? Hawksley is right to say that the death of Prince Philip was a major news story; but did it really warrant blanket coverage, using mostly pre-recorded material, across its TV channels and radio stations?

Personally, I have learnt a lot about Prince Phillip in the last few days, but I was selective in what I read, heard or watched. But blanket coverage risks putting audiences off, and is, in my opinion, counter-productive. Your own coverage on Saturday was certainly full, but you did cover other stories as well.

John Dakin

Toddington, Dunstable


I always enjoy Tom Peck’s wittily cynical pieces on politicians and their shenanigans, but to publish two successive pieces knocking Prince Philip in a very personal way was surely quite inappropriate at this time, even if the aim was to counter the blanket dewy-eyed coverage elsewhere in the press and media.

I do however agree with those who complained that the BBC’s clearing of the schedules on at least two of each of their main TV and radio channels was completely over-the-top. A few extended news bulletins and one or two long-prepared tribute programmes would have served the purpose adequately and in a respectful way.

Gavin Turner

Gunton, Norfolk

Enough of this nonsense

Following the maxim that you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, I’ve tried to refrain from commenting on Prince Philip, but yesterday I firstly received an email from the World Wide Fund for Nature asking for donations in his memory (apparently without any sense of irony), and then when I went to my local Waitrose there was a great big picture of him as you entered the shop. And another on the customer service counter. I’ve truly had enough of this nonsense.

It has taken a refreshingly astringent Tom Peck to cleanse the nation’s palates of the surfeit of saccharine goo that has been shamelessly pouring forth from every side since the death of this 99-year-old person.

Penny Little

Great Haseley, Oxfordshire

A well-deserved win

Rachael Blackmore must be a self-centred, determined and dedicated jockey who won the biggest prize in horse racing in Saturday’s Grand National.

She is, at the same time, a likeable charming young lady. To me, she seems to have the presentation of herself just right. I was even more impressed to read that she thought it was a “massive deal for me personally” and not that she was the first woman to win. Winning the Grand National is a monumental achievement for any jockey regardless of sex, colour, religion, etc.

I hope Blackmore continues to ride winners, contributing to racing’s rich legacy of excellence. She demonstrates true determination and ability in today’s trying times. Rachael and the other jockeys bring welcome relief to the strife and monotony of the past year. Well done Rachael!

Keith Poole


Show me the money, Salmond?

It seems that Alex Salmond’s USP for Alba is secession from the UK as quickly as possible after the May election. He claims that this is “not an alternative to economic recovery from Covid, it is an essential part of building a new, different and better society”. This brings us back to the question that separatists need to be asked every time they propose taking Scotland out of the UK: where is the money coming from? Mr Salmond fought the 2014 referendum campaign on the basis of a bonanza from oil revenues. That no longer exists, and in any case oil is a very volatile commodity, dependence on which would be more than rash. 

Scotland has many problems, some of which have been exacerbated by SNP mismanagement – shall we mention education, drug deaths, bad judgment on industrial projects? – and has survived the Covid crisis without economic catastrophe because of the funds shared with us by the Treasury in London. I should be interested to see a detailed prospectus from Mr Salmond clarifying how a separate Scotland would raise the money necessary for the recovery that we badly need.

Jill Stephenson


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