How The Queen's death will affect broadcasting - the TV and radio changes to expect

·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·5-min read
File photo dated 5/7/2006 of Queen Elizabeth II attending a garden party for members of the public at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, to mark the occasion of her 80th birthday. The Queen was in robust health for most of her life and seldom took time off during her lengthy reign and illnesses were few and far between over the years. Issue date: Thursday September 8, 2022.
Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday, 8 September. (PA)

News of The Queen's death has of course dominated TV and radio since it was announced on Thursday, 8 September, with broadcasters putting into action their plans on how to mark the passing of Her Majesty.

All TV and radio stations have had carefully-designed protocols in place for years on how to cover the announcement and period of national mourning, which lasts for 10 days leading up to the state funeral.

Read more: Long lived The Queen: How Her Majesty reached the mighty age of 96

Here's what to expect and what you might have noticed so far in changes to the usual schedule of TV and radio.

How was The Queen's death announced?

Watch: BBC announces HM Queen Elizabeth II has died aged 96

In planning for announcing The Queen's death, she was known under the code name "London Bridge", with the message "London Bridge is down" called through to the Prime Minister and senior civil servants before being officially released to the PA news agency.

Thursday's sad news did not come as a shock to most when it was announced as earlier in the day a statement from Buckingham Palace had confirmed that The Queen was under medical supervision at Balmoral and members of the Royal Family were travelling there to be by her side.

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News readers on TV changed into black mourning clothes, as did any guests or experts appearing on their programmes.

Radio stations followed protocol for major events and notable deaths by switching to sad music and taking anything that could be deemed offensive off playlists.

BBC reporter James Cook putting on a black tie outside Balmoral in Scotland. The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon, Buckingham Palace has announced. Picture date: Thursday September 8, 2022.
BBC reporter James Cook putting on a black tie outside Balmoral in Scotland. (PA)

As is usual with major royal news, a footman posted a notice of The Queen's death on the gates of Buckingham Palace.

Broadcasters have rehearsed their coverage of her passing for years, with many royal experts already on contracts to appear on various channels, meaning that they could swiftly spring into action for programming.

Earlier in the day, the BBC had interrupted programming to announce that The Queen was under medical supervision and had continued rolling coverage from there.

What happened to the TV programmes scheduled for Thursday?

TV OUT. ALL BROADCAST WEBSITES OUT. No cropping permitted. Picture must be credited to BBC Three. We are advised that videograbs should not be used more than 48 hours after the time of original transmission, without the consent of the copyright holder. Screengrab from BBC Three redirecting viewers to BBC One which is reporting on the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Issue date: Thursday September 8, 2022.
The sad news took over broadcasting schedules. (PA)

On Thursday lunchtime, viewers were given the first hint that a big news story was unfolding when BBC One faded out an episode of Bargain Hunt to cut to a news bulletin that The Queen's doctors were concerned for her health and the Royal Family had been called to Balmoral.

From then on, the BBC stuck with rolling news coverage of the story, cancelling all other scheduled programmes, and other broadcasters eventually followed suit.

Mourners gather outside Buckingham Palace in central London following the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II Picture date: Thursday September 8, 2022.
Mourners and world media gathered outside Buckingham Palace. (PA)

Her death was announced in the early evening and broadcasters dedicated the rest of the evening to news reports and pre-prepared films about The Queen's life and reign.

The coverage is continuing on Friday, with the usual scheduled daytime shows cancelled and extended news programmes about The Queen taking their place.

Why are there no adverts on TV?

All news outlets have suspended advertising as part of their protocol in reporting on the passing of The Queen.

Commercial broadcasters have replaced their advertising slots between programmes with a title screen in black showing a picture of The Queen.

How will the TV and radio schedules change over the next 10 days?

Tributes to Queen Elizabeth II on bus stops on Princes Street in Edinburgh following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday. Picture date: Friday September 9, 2022.
Tributes to Queen Elizabeth II on bus stops on Princes Street in Edinburgh. (PA)

So far, the extended schedule changes to broadcasters over the 10 designated days of national mourning have not been announced.

Broadcasters have said that they expect to review their schedule changes day by day, with BBC One having been set to launch the new series of Strictly Come Dancing on 17 September and Channel 4 having slated the return of The Great British Bake Off for 13 September.

Read more: Soaps cancelled following The Queen's death

ITV began new series of both The Masked Dancer and The Voice UK last Saturday, which were due to air their second pre-recorded episodes this weekend.

Check back for updates on whether any of those shows, and other notable programmes, will be postponed or cancelled in the coming days.

People lay flowers at the gates of Balmoral in Scotland following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday. Picture date: Friday September 9, 2022.
People lay flowers at the gates of Balmoral in Scotland following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. (PA)

Meanwhile, Friday's schedules on BBC One and ITV have been given over to further rolling news coverage and tributes to The Queen's life, with ITV scrapping Lorraine, This Morning and Loose Women for the day.

Daytime shows scheduled for BBC One have been switched to BBC Two and Channel 4 will show extended news broadcasts at lunchtime and in the evening, as well as a special edition of Steph's Packed Lunch.

Coronation Street and Emmerdale will not air on Friday and EastEnders will air on BBC Two.

King Charles III is expected to give his first televised address as our new monarch on Friday at 6pm, which will of course generate extensive coverage and analysis.

Over the weekend, The Last Night of the Proms, due to take place at the Royal Albert Hall, has been cancelled, which will change Saturday evening's schedules on both BBC One and BBC Two.

Watch: King Charles III to give televised address