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Top 10 British News Fails

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Marc Turner
These clips bring a whole new meaning to breaking the news. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 British news fails. For this list, we’re looking at the funniest and most memorable times when things went horribly wrong on live British news shows. Special thanks to our user RichardFB for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 British News Fails

These clips bring a whole new meaning to breaking the news. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 British news fails.

For this list, we’re looking at the funniest and most memorable times when things went horribly wrong on live British news shows.

#10: Making a Splash

BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell is used to making the odd blooper, having previously slipped across an ice curling rink and taken this painful tumble from a horse. But his most memorable gaffe came in 2018 when he interviewed five England Commonwealth Games swimmers in Australia. Having decided to ask his questions from inside the pool, you know disaster is about to strike when he tells us he needs to be careful. Unsurprisingly, the interview soon had to be cut short because Bushell’s microphone and sound pack were damaged.

#9: The Ayoade Interview

Krishnan Guru-Murphy has built a reputation as a combative interviewer, but he met his match in 2014 when he quizzed comedian Richard Ayoade. Ayoade skilfully side-steps every question on topics ranging from racial diversity to whether he considers himself a role model. He then turns the tables on Guru-Murphy by getting him to answer the questions, before referring to the interviewer’s embarrassing 2013 encounter with filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. The best is yet to come, though, with Ayoade finishing the conversation in brilliantly deadpan style.

#8: The Break-In

In 1988, the UK passed a law limiting LGBT rights, that came to be known as Section 28. It sparked protests across the country, including a twenty-thousand-strong march in Manchester and this notorious break-in at Television Centre. Just as the “live” light goes on, three activists burst into the studio and shout slogans before handcuffing themselves to equipment. While Sue Lawley continues resolutely to read the headlines, Nicholas Witchell tackles one of the women off camera before sitting on her until help arrives. The protestors were later released, uncharged.

#7: Hello?

The transition from news to weather is often a source of bloopers, particularly when the camera switches unexpectedly. But for this list, we’ve gone for this 2018 blunder, when technical issues cut short a piece about China to show meteorologist Tomasz Schafernaker doing… well, not much, actually. There’s time for him to wander off-screen, pick his nails, and by the end of the clip he looks so unimpressed you’d think he’d been stood up by a date. It’s OK, Tomasz, you’re not as alone as you think.

#6: A Match Made in Hell

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes news staff fail to match the image to the caption, creating farcical – and often hilarious – results. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt once briefly became head of an Islamic fundamentalist movement. Then there was the time the BBC added this unfortunate caption to footage of a public appearance by the Queen. But perhaps the funniest example is when a story about Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was paired with these unflattering pictures. She must have gone APE when she found out.

#5: The Sex Toy

The pantomime season may be over, but the phrase “It’s behind you!” is one that all football reporters should remember. On football transfer deadline day, dodgy props were once as much a tradition as desperation buys, with this incident at Aston Villa making headlines for all the wrong reasons. But as unwanted intrusions go, nothing beats this embarrassing episode suffered by Alan Irwin at Everton’s training ground – an event that contributed to Sky Sports’ decision to stop reporting from outside football stadiums. Boys and their toys.

#4: Broken News

A presenter for over 25 years, even Huw Edwards had never before encountered anything like the meltdown that crippled BBC News at Ten in 2017. After a technical fault before the programme started, viewers were bombarded with a series of random images, then shown pictures of the newsreader sitting in silence at his desk. Later, Edwards revealed that no one had warned him he was on air, but that he had decided – in his own words – to “behave” himself just in case. If only all presenters were so careful.

#3: The Great Storm

In the most infamous weather forecast in British history, Michael Fish casually dismissed a viewer’s concerns about an approaching storm. Technically, Fish was correct – the Great Storm of 1987 was not a hurricane but an extratropical cyclone. No one cared about terminology, though, as winds of over 100mph devastated the British Isles, uprooting trees, ripping off roofs, and causing over £1 billion worth of damage. So great was the gaffe, it prompted a public enquiry.

#2: The Skype Interview

We all know the saying about never working with children or animals. Professor Robert Kelly learned the wisdom of this the hard way when his daughter gatecrashed a 2017 live BBC interview on Korean politics. Determined not to be upstaged, her baby brother then joins the fun, before the children’s mother arrives to usher them out. Notice in particular how she crouches low, because that way we won’t be able to see her, right? A follow-up interview with the family proved equally entertaining.

#1: The Job Interview That Wasn’t

Could this be the greatest case of mistaken identity in history? Back in 2006, Guy Goma arrived at BBC studios to apply for an IT job, but was then accidentally hauled in front of the cameras to give his expert view on a court case involving Apple Computers. Amazingly, he actually gave an opinion on music downloads that has proved to be surprisingly accurate. Sadly, Guy never got the job at the BBC, but on the plus side, he did earn himself a guest appearance on The Big Fat Quiz.

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