Paramount Global-owned network Channel 5 was the only UK public service broadcaster not to show any royal-related coverage on Monday (Sept. 19) while Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral was taking place in London.
While BBC One, BBC Two and ITV broadcast the funeral live and Channel 4 showed a documentary on the Queen, Channel 5 instead broadcast “The Emoji Movie,” inspiring much mirth on social media.
“No way every channel’s showing the funeral and Channel 5’s showing ‘The Emoji Movie,'” tweeted one viewer while another wrote: “I can’t stop thinking about ‘The Emoji Movie’ on Channel 5 when the funeral is on.”
Others made quips about feeling moved by what they were seeing on the screen before revealing that they were watching “The Emoji Movie” rather than the Queen’s funeral. “It is a bit of an emotional watch and there will never be anything quite like this again, it’s so unique and so culturally significant,” one person tweeted. “Saying that, I do hope they make a sequel to the Emoji Movie.”
Another wrote: “Can’t believe we are finally here, it’s going to be such a tough watch. Good luck everyone getting through ‘The Emoji Movie’ on Channel 5 this morning.”
Meanwhile actor Lucia Keskin tweeted: “As Her Majesty is laid to rest, the nation pauses with utmost sorrow to pay respect by watching ‘The Emoji Movie’ on Channel 5.”
“The Emoji Movie,” which was released in 2017, is part of a block of children’s programming from Channel 5 taking place on Monday morning. Earlier the network broadcast “Thomas and Friends: Race for the Sodor Cup” followed by “The Adventures of Paddington.”
With the day of the Queen’s funeral declared a public holiday, schools were closed on Monday and Channel 5’s decision was likely made to offer them an alternative. As one viewer wrote on Twitter: “Really don’t understand the criticism of Channel 5 for showing ‘The Emoji Movie,’ ‘Stuart Little’ etc during the Queen’s funeral. What are kids of families who don’t have paid TV/streaming supposed to do otherwise, sit and watch white people in suits look overly sad for 6 hours?”
There has been mild criticism of the amount of coverage dedicated to the Queen and the royals since the monarch’s death on Sept. 8. Broadcasting schedules across the world were thrown into disarray eleven days ago after doctors announced they were “concerned” about her health, followed by the confirmation of her death a few hours later.
BBC One has yet to return to any normal scheduling and, along with other networks, has dedicated hours of coverage to the procession of the Queen’s coffin from Scotland, where she died, to London, followed by her lying-in-state as well as coverage of other members of the royal family, including King Charles III, his siblings and his children.
Despite the weeks of coverage, the BBC said last week it had only received a small number of complaints, especially in comparison to the number of complaints the corporation received following its coverage of the death of the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, in 2021.
Variety has contacted Channel 5 for comment.