‘Balance should have come in’ Dan Walker admits BBC’s Prince Philip coverage ‘a mistake’

Dan Walker Channel 5 News start date is revealed

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The former BBC Breakfast star has only recently left the broadcaster to join Channel 5 and has since spoken out about the BBC’s “mistake” regarding coverage around the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, which was the corporation’s most-complained about topic of 2021. Dan Walker, 45, argued the BBC tried to “force grief upon a nation” as he argued there should have been a more “balanced” coverage.

Prince Philip died at the age of 99 at Windsor Castle just over a year ago.

In the days that followed, the BBC ran a series of special programmes across two of its channels.

BBC One and BBC Two’s mirrored episodes aired continuously, while the broadcaster’s news and radio programmes also concentrated on the Prince’s death.

“When the Duke of Edinburgh did die, I do think that the BBC did make a mistake in putting the same output on BBC One on BBC Two,” Dan admitted.

“I think that’s where the balance should have come in because you can’t force grief upon a nation.”

Speaking to Metro, he added: “You can report on it, but you can’t make everybody feel the same way.”

Following the rejigging of the BBC schedule, 109,741 complaints flooded in.

At the time, the BBC stated: “We received complaints about our coverage of the passing of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“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.”

Director-general Tim Davie said “lessons will be learned” following the outcry during an April 22 BBCboard meeting.

Dan announced he would be leaving the BBC in April this year after six year’s on the channel’s signature morning show.

He explained he would be joining Channel 5 as a lead anchor on the 5pm bulletin segment.

Announcing the update via Channel 5’s Twitter account, Dan said in a video clip: “In the next few weeks, I’m going to be leaving BBC Breakfast and moving to 5 news and Channel 5

“I am really excited, but this has also been a massive decision for me.

“Channel 5 came with big ambitions, with big plans, and I don’t think opportunities like this come around very often and I can’t wait.”

During his final episode on May 17, Dan’s former colleague Louise Minchin joined him on the red sofa.

Louise ran out from behind the camera and asked Dan: “Are we going to break the rule of a lifetime?” before embracing him in a hug.

The broadcaster’s Channel 5 debut will air on Monday.

BBC Breakfast airs weekdays from 6am, while 5 News airs from 5pm on Channel 5.

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