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
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment
Relocation, relocation: Zawe Ashton travels the pathway to Northampton
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

comics
Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

film
Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
art
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
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.

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most