Viewers of BBC Breakfast would have choked on their toast this week when, just as presenters Susanna Reid and Charlie Stayt were welcoming the conductor John Wilson to the show, an off-camera voice piped up, "What the fuck is that?" It turned out to be business reporter Steph McGovern, whose mic had been left on accidentally.
The tense environment of the newsroom means on-air slip-ups are not uncommon. Recently a Granada news presenter got confused as to whether a shop worker had been shot or hit in the arm and ended up using an unfortunate portmanteau word. And who can forget James Naughtie's mispronunciation of Jeremy Hunt's surname on Radio 4's Today programme?
GMTV weathergirl Clare Nasir once announced that "outbreaks of rain will continue to piss – persist – across Northern Ireland" and another, Tomasz Schafernaker, gave the BBC News presenters the finger, unaware the camera had been thrown to him. The pitfalls of live TV, eh?