BBC: Sparkling coverage?

June 11, 2012, 3:43 PM GMT+0

57% Brits who watched Diamond Jubilee coverage say BBC did it well, despite news of complaints

More than half of Britons who watched last weekend's BBC coverage of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations felt that the broadcaster handled the coverage well, our poll shows. Meanwhile, over a quarter of viewers felt the coverage was bad, with the main reason given that the reporting was too lightweight and shallow for an event of this significance.

  • 57% of British people who watched the coverage think the BBC covered the Jubilee celebrations well, while 29% think the coverage was done badly
  • Of those who watched, 37% thought the coverage was 'too lightweight, shallow and celebrity-driven', while 6% thought it was 'too pompous'
  • 38% of those who watched thought the BBC got its coverage about right

Of those who not only watched but also thought the coverage was bad, the most common reason given was that it was too lightweight and shallow, followed closely by the belief that the presenters were badly informed and/or made mistakes.

  • 32% of those who condemned the coverage said that it was too lightweight and shallow
  • 27% said the presenters were badly informed and made mistakes
  • 17% said there was too much coverage of celebrities
  • 8% said the presenters lacked authority, while 6% said it was too pompous and dull
  • And 5% said the events themselves were not interesting

Coverage complaints

Last week, the British Broadcasting Corporation received 4,487 complaints from viewers and listeners about the quality of its Diamond Jubilee coverage. Some argue the BBC failed to serve the whole UK population, and instead reflected the views of too small an audience bracket, requiring a "dumbing down" of the events.

The highest volume of complaints were in regard to the Sunday's Thames River Pageant, about which the broadcaster received 2,425 complaints, including 945 from people who felt the coverage was 'poor as a whole' and 218 that there was too much studio discussion and insignificant celebrity focus, and not enough live coverage of the event itself.

Additionally, almost 700 complaints were aimed specifically towards the commentary and presenters, including Fearne Cotton and Matt Baker, who many felt came across as ill-informed about many of the flotilla's details.

“A universal three cheers”?

Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Neil Midgley said the "lighthearted", "One Show-style" coverage demonstrated the divide "between entertainment and news; between serious and showbiz, and between grey hair and blonde."

However, Presenter Fearne Cotton has responded to those who have been labelling her contribution as "inane" by accusing them as bullies who don’t know any better. "I love my job and wouldn’t be doing it if I wasn’t any good at it," she said.

In contrast, presenter Clare Balding ‒ who broadcasted from royal barge Gloriana during the Thames Pageant ‒ accepted viewers' reservations about the coverage on the whole, but also highlighted the difficulty that the corporation faced with such a huge event, including problems with staff being beset by communication failures and technical difficulties.

Overall though, in an internal email to staff, BBC director general Mark Thompson said that, despite complaints, he was very proud of the coverage, which also included broadcasting Monday night's pop concert from Buckingham Palace, and the carriage procession on Tuesday. Thompson also pointed out that "nothing gets a universal three cheers."

"I can honestly say the BBC has never had a challenge as staggeringly big as this," he wrote. "Our output has been impressive not only in its scale, but in its ambition, quality and outstanding journalism."

See the survey details and full results (page 8+)

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