IT is the biggest hit the BBC has had in decades, a ratings juggernaut, a global success, but there was never any doubt that this was one contest Strictly Come Dancing was destined to lose.

Let it be known that the launch of the new series of Strictly, scheduled for this Saturday, will now be postponed until after the funeral of the Queen on Monday. It is one of many changes to the television schedules since news of the sovereign’s deteriorating health began to emerge last week.

A few days’ wait for a television show may seem neither here nor there, but experience shows such things do matter to many. Last year, the BBC received a record number of complaints, 109,741, about the weight of coverage it gave to Prince Philip’s death. Many of the complaints cited the last-minute rescheduling of the MasterChef final as a change too far.

Will there be a similar number of complaints this time? Or have the broadcasters, and in particular the BBC, which has made the most changes to its schedules, got the balance and tone of coverage right?

The BBC complaints bulletin for the period in question has still to be published, so we don’t yet have the figures. With five more days to go until the official period of mourning is over, anecdotal and social media evidence suggest some people are finding the coverage too much in several ways.

Where there is talk of the royals, mention of television is never far away. At times the relationship has been an alliance made in heaven, beneficial to both sides, while at other moments … Well, it’s complicated.

For many people the box in the corner is part of the family, and I do mean the box, not the tablet or smartphone. While audiences for streaming and other services are growing, the majority of people still watch traditional television in the conventional, appointment to view, way. Those aged 65 and over consume the most television – almost six hours a day – and older age groups are more likely to pay the licence fee. In short, any change to the schedules will have a greater impact on older viewers.

Coverage at any level can have an effect on the recently bereaved. It is striking how many people have said they have been surprised at their intense reaction to the Queen’s death.

Yet it is not that long since the pandemic, when an ever increasing death toll became part of everyday life. More than 205,000 dead in the UK alone. We are not even close to knowing what effect that level of grief and trauma has had on society.

So much for the impact on the person, what about the political consequences of saturation television coverage? Politics has been suspended, we are told. Too bad if you want to know the latest on the cost of living crisis or Ukraine. The broadcasters have begun to include “other news” in bulletins, but it has taken time, too much in some cases.

The BBC has had its own long and sometimes troubled history with the royal family, and vice versa. In a recent series, Days that Shook the BBC, the presenter David Dimbleby said the corporation was more scared of Buckingham Palace than any government. “There’s been a kind of taboo in the BBC about the monarchy,” said Dimbleby.

A week on, the BBC coverage has largely attracted positive comments. There has been lots of “there’s only one channel to watch on occasions like this” going on. But in all the hours of coverage you will struggle to find alternative views on the monarchy. What happened to the need to be balanced?

Some reporters have tried to suggest that the picture is more complicated and differs within and between countries. They are in a tiny minority, though. Reporters in Scotland have their own political obstacle course to pick through. One or two, notably Allan Little, have gone at it with confidence borne of experience, only to be accused of presenting a “weird” version of the mood in Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole.

The BBC has had its plans in place for years, regularly revising them as times changed. At every level its staff are well aware how high the stakes are, particularly with a Conservative Government that is spoiling for a fight. Any excuse to ditch the licence fee is going to be seized upon, more so now an election looms. The stark fact is the BBC has banked a lot of political goodwill with its coverage.

As has the royal family, of course. The Queen would have understood that more than anyone. She was a television pioneer. The first monarch to reign in the television age, the first coronation to be televised live, and, as of last Saturday, the first to allow the cameras in to the accession ceremony.

The Queen knew the power of television, and its perils. An early attempt to show the royals were just like other family was deemed disastrous and promptly shelved.

Any dent to the reputation from Royal Family was as nothing compared to the damage done by the Charles and Diana interviews, which in turn were surpassed by Emily Maitlis’s sit-down with Andrew.

On balance, the Queen used television to her advantage, in many ways becoming a master of the TV arts. Witness the power of the Paddington sketch to charm a whole new generation. Even when television was at its most impudent, as with The Crown, she benefitted. Far from bringing about the end of the monarchy, the Netflix drama boosted its popularity. For some younger viewers this is the only version of the royal story they know.

King Charles, one or two moments with pens aside, has shown himself comfortable in front of the cameras. His popularity has grown with every appearance. How much of a part television will play in any new, slimmed down monarchy remains to be seen.

As prince, Charles had his own style of communication, one that changed over the years. Gone are the awkward days of the “black spider” letters lobbying Ministers on various causes. Now, like his late mother, he is making television work for him. Among his recent appearances were an interview with a BBC news correspondent about the environment, and a supporting role in an ITV documentary about Camilla.

However he chooses to deal with the cameras, he knows, as we all do, they are not going away.