Going live: When TV glitches attack

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

When X Factor fans had to wait a horrifying 15 minutes for their fix, they became part of a chequered television tradition

You can remove drug-addled contestants from talent competitions, but even shows with the biggest budgets can't take technical hitches out of live television . The X Factor has had plenty of challenges to contend with this series, after being overtaken in its ratings battle with the BBC's rival Strictly Come Dancing and having to throw wannabe popstar Frankie Cocozza off the programme for boasting about drug taking. But Saturday night saw it faced with two new problems.

First a glitch at the BT Tower prevented the show from going on air. As millions of viewers waited for the broadcast, a fill-in highlights package was screened. Normal service was resumed 15 minutes later.

Viewers following the official X Factor Twitter feed were told: "The studio is ready and raring to go... but there is a technical failure at BT Tower. Rumour Control: No. Frankie has not taken the producers hostage."

To make matters worse, news articles then appeared on the website of one ITV franchise apparently announcing the results half an hour before the voting hotlines had closed. This error by Scottish franchise STV only led to yet more rumour, this time that the poll to decide who should replace Cocozza – whose place went to Amelia Lily – had been fixed.

In a statement, the Scottish channel said: "The STV web team prepared stories regarding each contestant in anticipation of the result and due to a technical hitch, all four stories went live on our website. We would stress that this was purely a technical hitch and for this we apologise."

Peter Dickson, well known by viewers of the show for his animated voiceovers, told The Independent: "I gather it was a problem with communications as a result of a power failure on a microwave link.

"No doubt there will be an investigation and it will become clear, but it's amazing more shows don't go off air because there are so many aspects to a production of that size that can potentially go wrong. In a live broadcast situation it's always going to be a factor that can be expected... it doesn't happen very often, but when it does it can have quite dramatic consequences."

Despite writing on Twitter on Saturday of "People scrambling all over the studio", Mr Dickson said nobody panicked as they realised it was something over which they had no control.

"Ian Royce, who warms the audience up, was keeping everybody amused and Dermot [O'Leary, the show's presenter] was able to practise his dance routine again, so it was fine."

A man with plenty of experience in dealing with the unexpected elements of live television, Mr Dickson added: "It's like being a sprinter on the starting blocks on your hind legs waiting for the gun to go off... everything is geared towards that on-air time, so when it doesn't happen and you're up to a peak point you just have to try and relax."

It wasn't alright on the night: live TV gaffes

Wogan announces wrong winner in Eurovision (2007)

The climax of the BBC's sing-off to decide which song would represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest was ruined when Terry Wogan told singer Cyndi she had won, only for Fearne Cotton to correct him seconds later, announcing that the group Scooch were the real winners.

The finale of Australia's Next Top Model suffered an equally cringe-worthy incident last year when host Sarah Murdoch, daughter-in-law of media baron Rupert, had to tell a model that she had in fact lost the contest moments after she had made an acceptance speech, after Ms Murdoch had incorrectly declared her the winner.

Rogue advert blocks out Liverpool derby goal (2009)

After 120 minutes of turgid football, Everton snatched a winning goal against Liverpool in the closing minutes of their FA Cup fourth round replay tie – but nobody watching on ITV saw it because an automated system made an advert cut in at the vital moment. The error was repeated in the 2010 World Cup when a commercial interrupted a game between England and the USA.

 

Status Quo embarrassed by Daybreak CD player (2011)

ITV's breakfast TV offering showed veteran rockers Status Quo miming a live performance of "Rock 'n' Roll 'n You" when the CD skipped and began replaying the start of the song.

Strictly Come Dancing ignores public vote (2008)

The BBC's reality TV competition was thrown into disarray after a public vote for the semi-final was disregarded and all three competing couples were allowed through to the final. Viewers who spent money voting were fuming.

 

Motor racing excitement spoiled by ad break (2005)

Formula One fans called for ITV to lose its broadcasting rights after adverts interrupted a key duel between Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.

 

Protesters storm National Lottery set (2006)

A £17m jackpot had to be delayed after pressure group Fathers 4 Justice invaded the studio.

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
music review
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Boy George performing with Culture Club at Heaven

musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker