Continuing our series, “The Perils of Live Television,” let’s take you across the Atlantic to the BBC. It’s one of the fears of any network. You hit the air as scheduled and then nothing goes right. You try to fire video and everything goes haywire. It happened on BBC One and the BBC News Channel Tuesday night for the BBC News at Ten program. While “Breaking News” banners and special opens were going off left and right, anchorman Huw Edwards sat at the desk just waiting for things to calm down.
For four minutes, Edwards sat quietly, folding his hands, fiddling with the computer mouse, writing on his copy all the while listening to his earpiece, just waiting for word so he could start the newscast. Cameras zoomed in and out. Viewers saw a couple of different angles of Edwards. It was rather intriguing television for viewers who were waiting for their nightly dose of news.
BBC One did put up this slide to inform viewers that it was dealing with a dumpster fire:
But those watching the BBC News Channel saw the entire four minutes of Edwards sitting at his desk. The newscast finally began at 10:04 p.m. and after two minutes of introductory teases, Edwards being the consummate professional said, “Good evening, a few technical problems tonight for which we apologize” and went on with the news.
Here’s the entire sequence:
After the newscast, Edwards tweeted out a picture of a much deserved beer:
I think I'm going to enjoy this little beauty after that Ten. Iechyd da! #bbcnewsten @BBCNews pic.twitter.com/FuU8zN6r5M
— Huw Edwards (@huwbbc) June 20, 2017
BBC News program editor Paul Royall explained that there was a system crash just before the start of the program and it necessitated a switch to a backup:
FYI technical system crash seconds before 10. Director had to switch to a back-up system ASAP. @huwbbc doing great job #BBCNewsTen
— Paul Royall (@paulroyall) June 20, 2017
It could not have come at a worse time, but Edwards handled it as best as he could.