Ten Uncomfortable Live TV Moments of 2011

Live TV is a killer. No matter what the best intentions of a production team may be, no matter how many doomsday scenarios have been planned out, something will always come along to gum up the works. It can be a dry tongue skittering across nervous teeth and causing words to come out wrong, it can be the wrong fader raised at the wrong time, but whatever it is, the poor soul in front of the camera is always the one who has to try and skate along the surface, smiling and waving, like the swan.

Here are ten examples taken from the last year of British TV:

Let’s start with a corker. How to offend everyone everywhere, at once. Poor BBC Scotland:

The classic ‘everything goes wrong at once’ from BBC News:

ITV’s Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on mushrooms:

Charlotte Jackson from Sky Sports is ever so friendly:

Here’s Bill Turnbull and Sian Williams from BBC Breakfast demonstrating the first law of live TV, that you should never, ever try and prove that a bowl of any sort is ‘spillproof.':


This one comes in around the 1:40 mark, where the presenter Martine Dennis finds herself broadcasting without a microphone. SPEAK UP, LOVE!

Mind you, this lady probably wishes her microphone HAD broken:

Rosamund Pike probably won’t be asked to present any more BAFTAs:

A subtle one this. It’s Ant (left) and Dec (right), presenters of ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, and they often lark about in their links. However, a gag about Dec’s sex life, around the 1 minute mark, seemed to momentarily throw him off course, in a quite delightful way (note: it’s worth watching all of these):


And to end, here’s the moment where the actual TV show Countdown (from nowadays) manages to relive an old Fry and Laurie sketch about Countdown from the distant past, when it was presented by Richard Whitely. The word which has been bleeped out is ‘wanker.’

And here’s Fry and Laurie:

Eerie, isn’t it?

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser is a British writer, broadcaster and the the author of the book Stuff Brits Like. He is Anglophenia's resident Brit blogger, having written BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog, the Top of the Pops website, and for NME, the Guardian and elsewhere. Favorite topics include slang, Doctor Who and cramming as much music into Anglophenia as he can manage. He invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic
View all posts by Fraser McAlpine.