BBC and ITV viewing figures plummeted during blanket coverage of Prince Philip 4 weeks ago

BBC and ITV viewing figures plummeted during blanket coverage of Prince Philip

Viewers were displeased by the cancellation of Masterchef

Both the BBC and ITV saw their viewing figures fall drastically on Friday as their planned schedules were scrapped for wall to wall coverage of Prince Philip's death.


BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Scotland, BBC News, and BBC Alba all put out the same feed, while BBC 4 did not broadcast England women’s international against France, instead just showing this holding graphic. The game was still available to watch on the website.

The ratings show that BBC One only suffered a minor drop off in its viewing figures between 7pm - 11pm, averaging 2.41 million viewers compared to 2.56 million the week before. But BBC Two saw a 64 per cent drop off as it showed the same Prince Philip special.

ITV's ratings during the same time period were down from 3.39 million to just 1.34 million.

BBC radio station feeds were interrupted by the news, which led to dance tracks instantly transitioning into the national anthem, God Save The Queen, when the news of Philip's passing broke.

This is all part of the protocol for when a senior royal dies, and the same will happen when Queen Elizabeth II passes as part of the 'London Bridge' plan.


But plenty of people, not necessarily anti-royal republicans, found it unnecessary to cancel popular Friday night shows that they were looking forward to. EastEnders and Masterchef were both taken off the air on Friday, and the decision led to the BBC having to set up a specific complaints page on their website for people disgruntled by the blanket coverage about the Duke of Edinburgh.

That complaints page has since been taken down.

Channel 4, on the other hand, made very few changes to their schedule, sticking to their roots as the alternative to the other national broadcasters, and drew in 4.2 million viewers for Gogglebox, the most watched show of the evening.