BBC apologises for interview gaffe

The BBC has admitted it was taken for a ride by a cabbie.

The network apologised to its viewers for a studio mix-up that resulted in a cab driver appearing on live television as an expert on internet music downloads.

“We interviewed the wrong person,” a BBC spokesperson said on Monday while speaking on condition of anonymity in line with company policy. “We apologise to viewers for any confusion.”

The case of mistaken identity occurred on May 8 — the day Britain’s High Court awarded Apple Computer a victory in a lawsuit against Apple Corps, The Beatles’ commercial arm.

In a reaction piece to the verdict that is now circulating widely on the internet, BBC News 24 consumer-affairs correspondent Karen Bowerman ostensibly welcomed computer expert Guy Kewney.

As Bowerman introduced the apparent expert, there was a moment when the still-unidentified driver realised the mistake. He scrunched his face up in a grimace and in panic tried to open his mouth as if to explain.

“Were you surprised by this verdict today [May 8]?” Bowerman asked.

“I’m very surprised to see the verdict come on me because I was not expecting that,” he said in a heavy French accent, blinking in the studio lights. “When I came, they told me something else.”

Growing more confident, he gamely went on to deliver his opinion on the future of music downloads following the landmark verdict.

Meanwhile, the real Kewney, who was waiting to be taken to the studio, looked up on a monitor and found another man ensconced in the interviewee’s chair.

“What would you feel, if while you were sitting in that rather chilly reception area, you suddenly saw yourself not sitting in reception, but live, on TV? A bit surprised?” Kewney wrote on his web-log.

Kewney, who could not be reached for comment on Monday, said on his blog that he was amused at first — but then considered that viewers would think he did not know his subject, hurting his reputation.

Though the BBC did not elaborate on how the mistake occurred, Kewney wrote in his blog that a studio manager, “wringing his hands as if he wanted to suddenly take the day off, retrospectively”, had called the reception area — rather than the stage door — and was told the Kewney was there.

Producers apparently realised by the end of the interview that something had gone wrong — and, after they had gone off the air, asked the cabbie if there was a problem.

“He said: ‘Well, it was OK, but I was a bit rushed’,” Kewney wrote on his blog. — Sapa-AP

On the net

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Three ‘gringos’ brave heat, mosquitos, illegal gold miners and pirates...

A Wits University accounting professor has returned from his Amazon expedition he undertook to fight climate change

Fintech firms ramp up investments in Kenya’s microfinance space

Kenya’s microfinance banks are the target of fintech firms from abroad seeking to sidestep stringent regulatory perimeters for digital lenders

Harbour views at 9th Avenue Waterside

The award-winning eatery, which offers fine wines and food, is on stilts at Durban’s harbour

Zimbabwe hospital workers plot stillbirth burials

The policy is to cremate deceased infants but Bulawayo Hospital’s incinerators are not working

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…