The ABC received over 400 complaints over its coverage of Prince Philip’s death after the breaking news on Friday night interrupted an episode of the much-loved TV show Vera.
The national broadcaster said in a statement that the ABC has received “a relatively low 435 complaints about its overall coverage, more than three-quarters of which relate to the interruption of Vera”.
“Other complaints were about other matters, such as the duration of our coverage,” the statement continued.
Now on its seventh season, Vera is a British crime drama that follows Det Chief Insp Vera Stanhope as she solves chilling murders.
Fans also flooded the ABC’s social media accounts on Friday night, demanding that the broadcaster switch back to its regular programming.
“End of an era, now back to Vera!” one user commented on the ABC’s Facebook post first reporting the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing.
“Feel so sorry for Annabel Crabb being dragged to the studio in the middle of Vera,” another wrote.
“Was enjoying Vera on ABC after a hard day’s work only for it to be interrupted by breaking news. OK so Prince Philip died but do we have to have a continuous discussion about it? I wanna know who done in the student on Vera!” another Twitter user posted.
It wasn’t just ABC TV’s effusive coverage of Philip’s death that prompted objections.
ABC online sent at least six breaking news alerts following the prince’s death and launched more than 50 pieces of content under its somewhat anachronistically-named topic tag: “Royal and Imperial Matters”.
The ABC’s experience mirrored that of the BBC, where viewers switched off their TVs in droves amid blanket coverage of Prince Philip’s death and flooded the broadcaster with complaints.
The BBC fielded so many complaints it opened a dedicated form on its website – but even the form proved controversial, with some conservatives claiming it was “prompting a response”. It was later shut down.