BBC News Program Experiences the Most Awkward Glitch

GIF Source: BBC

Viewers of BBC’s News at Ten were entranced last night when a glitch in its system produced over four minutes of surreal beauty.


As the program began, the usual opening rush of clips from around the world accompanied by dramatic music played. A breaking news graphic flew up onscreen and then there was silence. The host, Huw Edwards, sat at his desk, patiently awaiting his cue. But the cue was not coming. Instead, the breaking news graphic came up again... and again, and again. B-roll footage from random segments randomly played and all the while we kept seeing Edwards at his desk, deep in thought. Around the two minute mark, the camera slowly zoomed in on Edwards in a moment that felt like a climax. But no, it snapped back to a wide shot and the idle host continued to contemplate the mysteries of the universe.

Paul Royall, the show’s editor, tells The Guardian that a “technical system crash” occurred just as the show was about to begin and a backup system had to be initialized. Another glitch occurred later on Good Morning Britain that was blamed on the system overheating.

If you’re wondering why that lovely slow zoom occurred, it’s because the BBC uses a robotic camera system. In a blog post about the cameras, the network explains the two types of cameras it uses:

Furios, which are fixed to a dolly and run on tracks, limiting their movement to side-to-side, and Shotokus, which are mounted on three wheels and can move freely across the floor. They can either be pre-programmed or controlled directly by a person.

For his part, Edwards came out of this looking good. He didn’t get caught saying anything stupid and he didn’t pick his nose. He later told Radio 4 that he realized something was up about 40 seconds before the show kicked off because he heard pandemonium in the background.

Viewers loved it, tweeting their approval with messages like, “Watching Huw Edwards do nothing on BBC news is kinda absorbing, like a lava lamp.” And love it they should. Watching TV personalities when they don’t think they’re on the air is always fascinating. See it in full below.

[The Guardian]



Furtive Glance

In the early 90s I had a B.U.D. (Big Ugly Dish), a 10-foot satellite dish that allowed me to pull in — unscrambled for the first couple years — all kinds of not-for-broadcast news footage. There’s a tape in storage somewhere. Some of the highlights:

— At a golf tournament, the cameras/directors were testing their shots and angles during a Monday or Tuesday practice round. All of the cameramen were putting thumb and forefinger in front of the camera and doing the Kids in the Hall’s “I’m CRUSHING YOUR HEAD” bit on the golfers.

— Keith Jackson was getting makeup applied for a live shot on a Saturday highlights show. The makeup person asked him about Notre Dame and he said “Good old Notre Dame, where they put parking meters in front of the cathedral.”

That thing was incredible. We got to watch “wild feeds” of network shows days or weeks ahead of time, as they were fed to local stations as backup or for use in a different time slot or whatever. Whenever a news person was doing local news for Charlotte, for instance, from Los Angeles, we could watch the 10 minutes of them swearing, telling jokes, practicing or eating before the “live shot.” I could watch all the Canadian and many of the Mexican networks — we loved MuchMusic so much, we went up and toured the studio in Toronto one summer vacation.

Eventually it all got scrambled and there went the fun.