BBC Is Anti-British, Activists Say, as Britons Tune Out of Philip Coverage

A new movement has sprung up in the U.K. of people seeking to "Defund the BBC." An activist organization named just that has called the British Broadcasting Corporation "anti-British," seemingly in response to the network offering a way for viewers to complain about its voluminous coverage of Prince Philip's death on Friday.

"Disgraceful! The anti-British BBC has set up a form to encourage complaints about the volume of coverage of Prince Philips death," Defund the BBC tweeted on Friday.

The tweet included a link to a now-out-of-service BBC page that appeared to have been set up specifically for complaints against the network over its coverage of Philip's death. It appears the page has been taken down: A "Sorry, this page isn't available" message appears when going to the link.

Disgraceful! The anti-British BBC has set up a form to encourage complaints about the volume of coverage of Prince Philips death.#DefundTheBBC

— Defund The BBC (@DefundBBC) April 9, 2021

Defund the BBC appears to have begun last summer with the goal of making payment of a TV license fee optional. "Our aim is simple – we want to decriminalise non-payment of the TV licence fee and reduce the BBC Charter's scope to cover BBC content only," the organization says in a GoFundMe campaign launched to help spread awareness.

In an emailed statement to Newsweek, Defund the BBC campaign director Rebecca Ryan explained why the movement found the complaint page offensive.

"Having recently mocked an MP for having a Union Jack and photo of the Queen in his office during a live broadcast the BBC is now encouraging viewers to complain about coverage of Prince Philips death. This is deeply insulting to the very people who are forced to fund the broadcaster through taxation on watching any live TV," she wrote in an email.

According to Deadline, the BBC and other British channels suffered ratings hits on Friday as coverage surrounding Philip's death became the channel's main focus. The entertainment outlet noted that BBC One saw a six percent decrease in viewership from the previous Friday, while BBC Two dropped 65 percent.

While the page for people to voice their frustrations about the plentiful coverage surrounding Prince Philip's death may be gone, the BBC does have a section on its website explaining the changes and offering viewers links to schedules.

"Due to the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, there will be changes to our planned schedules," the BBC site says. "We understand that last minute schedule changes can be frustrating to our audiences and we try to keep them to a minimum."

Despite the activists' anger at the BBC's now-defunct efforts to streamline complaints about the abundant coverage surrounding Philip's death, many people on Twitter did critique the network for what they saw as an excessive amount of coverage, some offering jokes that it seemed that the network was overdoing it. Others criticized the network with at least two people pointing out that it felt like the BBC was providing more in-depth coverage of the Duke of Edinburgh's passing rather than important issues such as victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit.

Dear BBC please see attached meme.

— Otto Von Jizzmark (@Ottojizzmark) April 10, 2021

Dear BBC. Yes, we had heard that Prince Philip has died.

— Nicholas Till (@nicholas_till) April 10, 2021

The BBC are doing 50x more analysis of Philip’s death than they did of Brexit

— Professor Lord Sir Dominic Scummings PhD (retd.) (@Eddystone506) April 9, 2021

I see the BBC have pulled all programmes for the next 24 hours to honour Prince Philip. Shame they didn't do the same for the 150,000 covid 19 deaths caused by our incompetent government.

— Anne Laird (@AnneLai31821380) April 9, 2021

One person pointed out the irony in the two sides of the argument.


ME : Dear BBC. I want to complain about too much coverage of Prince Philip's death

BBC : OK. Here's 'I can see your voice'

ME : Dear BBC. I wish to complain about the lack of coverage of Prince Philip's death.

— Jack Hollands (@JackHollands58) April 10, 2021
BBC Prince Philip
Defund the BBC took issue Friday with the network offering a now-deleted page where viewers could complain about the voluminous coverage of Prince Philip's death. Above, the BBC headquarters on July 25, 2015 in London. Carl Court/Getty Images