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Huw Edwards reflects on ‘moving’ service in BBC coverage of Philip’s funeral

BBC newsreader Huw Edwards (Chris Jackson/PA)
BBC newsreader Huw Edwards (Chris Jackson/PA)

Huw Edwards was joined by guests including Sir David Attenborough, Gyles Brandreth and Alan Titchmarsh as he anchored the BBC’s coverage of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

The broadcaster reflected on a “deeply moving service,” including “a very dignified and sharp and stylish military procession which symbolised all that was vital and salient in the long life of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.”

He concluded his commentary of the funeral saying: “He now rests in peace in the royal vault beneath St George’s Chapel, having fought the good fight, having finished the race, and having kept the faith.”

Ahead of the event, Edwards wrote in the Spectator: “In four hours of live broadcasting, watched by an audience of millions, the focus is on accuracy and tone.

“Most of the people doling out advice online have – predictably – never been entrusted with such a duty. But thanks anyway.”

BBC coverage began at 12.30pm, with Edwards joined by guests including Sir David, Baroness Grey-Thompson, royal biographer Brandreth and TV gardener Titchmarsh, as well as members of the military, to share their memories of the duke.

Titchmarsh read part of a letter written to him by Philip after he published a book about the royal gardens, while Baroness Grey-Thompson discussed his legacy with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

The BBC devoted almost four hours to coverage of the ceremony, and the news bulletin immediately after the funeral also covered the event.

The corporation received 110,000 complaints about its coverage of Philip’s death last week, after it cleared its schedules and put mirrored coverage on BBC One, BBC Two and the news channel.

The complaints were the highest number ever published in the UK about television programming and made coverage of Philip’s death the most complained-about piece of programming in BBC history.

After publication of the BBC’s fortnightly complaints bulletin on Thursday, the corporation said in a statement: “The passing of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 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 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.

“We are grateful for all feedback and we always listen to the response from our audiences.”

ITV committed just over three hours to the funeral, anchored by Tom Bradby and Julie Etchingham and featuring guests including Philip’s goddaughter India Hicks.

Its coverage was followed by quiz show Tipping Point .

BBC Two did not air the funeral, instead showing the Snooker World Championship.

Channel 4 showed episodes of reality show Four In A Bed, while Channel 5 aired the film A Knight’s Tale starring Heath Ledger.

The BBC news channel and Sky News funeral both aired coverage of the funeral.

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