Kate Middleton Labor: U.K. TV News Struggles to Fill Airtime

Kate Middleton

"Plenty more to come from here, none of it news," says one BBC News correspondent, who also read some viewer complaints on the air.

LONDON -- U.K. news networks focused most of their Monday coverage on the much-anticipated royal baby, from the moment it was announced early in the day that Kate Middleton had gone into labor.

But they acknowledged more or less directly that there wasn't much actual news to share, and some viewers complained about the BBC's coverage.

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Much on-air talk in the U.K. on Monday focused on past royal babies, preproduced reports, the media scrum outside the hospital and the etiquette of royal baby news.

Continuing coverage by the BBC, BBC News and Sky News included recurring updates from outside the hospital in West London where Middleton and Prince William had arrived early Monday. BBC News also kept talking to its correspondents outside Buckingham Palace and in Middtleton's hometown of Bucklebury.

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By early afternoon, though, BBC correspondent Simon McCoy drew attention from Twitter and YouTube viewers with some deadpan comments.

"Plenty more to come from here, none of it news," he said at one point, leading viewers to highlight the lack of new developments in the baby start. Some even posted video of the comment on YouTube.

The BBC also received complaints about its coverage.

"Not everybody is enjoying the specter of the speculation," McCoy said in the early afternoon local time, reading from audience text messages and other feedback, including: "Come on, BBC. People do have babies. Stop saying the same thing over and over. Give us the rest of the news."

"What a load of second-hand rubbish," he quoted another viewer as commenting.

McCoy also emphasized that the real news was likely to come later in the evening or maybe even Tuesday morning when the royals shared news of the baby's birth, along with its gender and some initial details. "Until then, we're going to be speculating about this royal birth with no facts," McCoy quipped.

Sky News correspondent Paul Harrison interviewed an Australian TV correspondent, among others, who said that he has desperately tried to fill airtime over the past two weeks, with more of that happening on Monday.

Harrison also expressed hope that the baby would arrive soon. "#royal #kate has now been in hospital for 11 hours, and in labour for longer! #GreatBabyWait -- new hashtag!" he tweeted in the afternoon.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai