BBC defends Houston TV coverage

Kevin Costner at Whitney Houston's funeral Actor Kevin Costner, who starred with Houston in The Bodyguard, gave a eulogy at her funeral

The BBC has defended its coverage of Whitney Houston's funeral on its News Channel following complaints from viewers about its duration.

The broadcaster received 118 complaints about the Channel's coverage of the four-hour service on Saturday.

The corporation said it was "part of the News Channel function to be there when major stories take place".

Another 34 complaints were received from people upset that the service had been interrupted.

Live coverage of the service began at 17:00 GMT and continued until just before 20:30 GMT, with the BBC continuing to report on the story afterwards.

"The News Channel's coverage of Whitney Houston's funeral reflected the significant interest in her sudden death as well as acknowledging the impact she had as a global recording artist," said the corporation in a statement.

It acknowledged that "some people felt there was too much coverage" but said BBC One's teatime bulletin, radio bulletins and other services had still given viewers "the best access to the day's other news stories".

Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys and R Kelly performed at the service, which took place in Newark, New Jersey. Actor Kevin Costner, who starred with Houston in The Bodyguard, gave a eulogy.

The 48-year-old singer was found in a bath in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on 11 February.

The cause of her death will remain unclear until the results of the toxicology tests are announced.

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