BBC Breakfast boss defends ‘excessive’ Prince Harry coverage
BBC Breakfast editor defends covering Prince Harry stories
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Prince Harry has dominated news coverage in recent days following the release of his controversial memoir. BBC Breakfast and other BBC News programmes were slammed for dedicating a lot of airtime to him after he left the UK and stepped down from his royal duties.
Newswatch host Samira Ahmed suggested to Richard Frediani on Saturday’s show: “You have done a lot about Prince Harry in the past couple of weeks – too much?”
The BBC boss defended the coverage, responding: “We have, but we have done far more on the cost of living or the health crisis facing the National Health Service across the UK.
“Prince Harry’s story is a story of genuine interest, look at how many books he has sold in the last few days.
“It’s a story that the viewers will react to and I would argue is it about that we have done too much? Or is there just a subjective appeal about whether we should be doing it at all?”
He added: “Ultimately we live in a constitutional monarchy, Prince Harry is a part of that.
“Therefore what he has to say about his own life and his relationship with Prince William, the King, and others is going to be of interest and in some parts may be of significant news value.”
BBC Breakfast viewers hit back on Twitter after the programme showed people supposedly “queueing” to buy the Duke’s memoir.
Royal correspondent Sarah Campbell headed to Waterstones in central London to speak to members of the public who were eager to buy the book.
However, both Sarah and the viewers were baffled as only one person was in the queue.
Simon Alcock said on Twitter: “That is not a queue… It’s one [person] standing outside a bookshop for two hours. #BBCBreakfast.”
In another blow for the Prince, his tell-all ITV interview with Tom Bradby was beaten in viewership ratings by the drama Happy Valley as millions more tuned in to the BBC crime drama.
The Duke’s interview brought in an average of 3,686,800 viewers between 9pm and 10pm.
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Meanwhile, the episode of Happy Valley which was on at the same time was watched by an average of 5,226,800.
It meant the second episode of the crime drama drew in 1.7 million more viewers than Harry’s interview.
The candid discussion saw Harry take aim at his brother Prince William, sister-in-law Kate Middleton and his stepmother Queen Consort Camilla.
The father-of-two also discussed his relationship with his father King Charles III.
BBC Breakfast viewers also slammed the outlet for its ‘utterly pathetic’ coverage in another rant after leaked extracts of Harry’s book were shared.
BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell detailed his thoughts on the leaked extracts to host Ben Thompson.
Twitter user @HughEdw31897368 wrote: “This is utterly pathetic. The UK is in dire straits and what are #bbcnews and #skynews leading with?
“Two brothers fighting, a story from a leaked copy of a book. #BBCBreakfast.”
@AmoreBrexit posted: “BREAKING NEWS Brothers have a spat about abrasive girlfriend. You really couldn’t make this s*** up! #BBCBreakfast.”
BBC Breakfast airs on BBC One from 6am
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