BBC receives over 1,000 complaints over Mandela death coverage

Posted Dec 9, 2013 by Kev Hedges
Well over 1,000 complaints have been received in the UK concerning the BBC's saturated coverage of the death of Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela  former President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999
Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999
Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
On a night when severe storms and high tides were due to flood many coastal towns along England's eastern shoreline, many Britons had been glued to their news channels to get the latest updates from the 24-hour news channels, but just as millions were tuning in at high tide on Thursday night, Nelson Mandela died.
The BBC's flagship channel BBC1, even broke off its screening of popular drama series Mrs Brown's Boys to bring the news that the 95-year old former South African president had passed away.
However, the BBC News Director gave a lukewarm apology to those that could no longer receive updates on the severe storms by saying Nelson Mandela was a man of "singular significance" and the "most significant statesman of the last 100 years", as reported in the Guardian.
BBC headquarters in Leeds
BBC headquarters in Leeds
Tim Loudon
The Independent also reported another spokesperson from the BBC justifying the saturated coverage being devoted to Mandela's death:
Nelson Mandela was a hugely significant world leader with an enormous political and cultural influence across the world. His death is of considerable interest to our audiences at home and across the globe.
The BBC responded to the 1,000-plus complaints on its website but viewers were particularly incensed that one of the popular programs had been cut short just 10 minutes before the scheduled 10pm news show was about to go on air. Moreover, Spectator writer Rod Liddle slammed the BBC saying, "For Christ’s sake BBC, give it a bloody break for five minutes, will you? It’s as if the poor bugger now has to bear your entire self-flagellating white post-colonial bien pensant guilt; look! Famous nice black man dies! Let’s re-run the entire history of South Africa. That’s better than watching the country we’re in being flattened by a storm."