At 7:34 AM EST on September 8, Buckingham Palace confirmed that Queen Elizabeth II’s health was declining. This prompted news organizations around the world to pivot their daily programming. Per “Operation London Bridge,” the BBC, Britain’s state broadcaster, had its anchors change into black clothing hours before the official announcement of the queen’s death (via GQ). The BBC, per the plan, was the first TV channel to be clued in on the queen’s passing.
The international TV community shortly followed, shifting their plans and descending into total chaos. The Guardian’s YouTube channel compiled clips of TV broadcasts from around the world announcing the Queen’s death. A majority of the clips show the anchors confused and shocked as they announce the news, sometimes breaking from existing programming. Sandra Smith of Fox News was notably caught off guard with the announcement, saying: “The King has … the Queen has passed away.”
While speaking with Variety, Aline Pivot, head of news at TF1, France’s most popular commercial channel, discussed how the Queen’s death, like any major event, takes precedence over general programming. “We immediately sent correspondents to Balmoral [in the Scottish Highlands, where the Queen died],” the executive revealed. TF1 began its dedicated coverage after the Queen’s health was put into question earlier in the morning.
France Televisions, the country’s public broadcaster, like many, has begun rolling out programming that directly relates to the Royal family. Italian public broadcaster RAI also pivoted its Thursday programming to exclusively focus on the Queen. Sky Italia, meanwhile, is paying tribute to the monarch by broadcasting a slew of films focused on the queen, per Variety. Several international outlets, including TF1, have confirmed that programming for the next two weeks will reflect the interest in the Royal family. “We don’t know when we’ll revert to our usual programming,” Pivot confirmed.