Prince Philip funeral: viewing figures show ceremony was watched by over 13.5m people

Despite good weather making trips to recently reopened pubs all the more enticing, millions of people opted to watch the Duke of Edinburgh’s ceremony

The BBC’s coverage of the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh was watched by an average of almost seven million people.

The corporation devoted almost four hours to the event, led by veteran broadcaster Huw Edwards.

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Viewing peaked just after 3pm, as the ceremony started, with 11.3 million people tuning in, the BBC said.

The one-hour service, between 3pm and 4pm, was viewed by 11 million people on the BBC, 2.1 million on ITV, and around 450,000 on Sky, BBC News reported, citing figures from the official Barb overnight averages for the hour-long time slot.

Here is everything you need to know about it.

How did the BBC cover the funeral?

The coverage, which drew an average of 6.6 million viewers, began at 12.30pm as Edwards was joined by guests including Sir David Attenborough, Gyles Brandreth and Alan Titchmarsh to share memories of the late duke, who died on 9 April at the age of 99.

While good weather managed to tempt many in England out to recently reopened pubs, some were lucky enough to be able to combine the two (Photo: GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

Edwards concluded the coverage at 4.15pm, reflecting 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 added: “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.”

What was on the other channel?

The corporation received 110,000 complaints about its coverage of Philip’s death, 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, 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."

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

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.

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 funeral was shown on the BBC News Channel, and Sky News.

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